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The latest update as of November 19, 2019

The following statement was released by NHRA late yesterday afternoon.

The NHRA is disappointed in the situation that occurred between Steve Torrence and Cameron Ferre after the first round of Top Fuel competition at the Auto Club NHRA Finals. We are evaluating the matter and any potential penalties will be assessed after a thorough review.

The latest update as of November 18, 2019

In the end, the points leaders going into the event in all four categories emerged victorious on the season, but none of them, doubled up with the Auto Club Finals event victory and the World Championship. Robert Hight came close to taking both in Funny Car, and might have grabbed the win in the final against Jack Beckman until his car mysteriously shut off at the end of his tire melting half-track burnout.

In Top Fuel, Steve Torrence cut a sleepy (.183) light in the semi-final and lost on a holeshot to Richie Crampton, but still hung on to win the championship by just THREE points over Doug Kalitta. Pro Stock saw Erica Enders lose in the semi-final to Francisco Cuadra, but she had already clinched the championship a round earlier by defeating Chris McGaha. Her third world championship wasn't exactly a runaway though as closest pursuer, Jeg Coughlin Jr. took the event win and fell just 21 points short of catching Enders.

The most dramatic season title battle of the weekend occurred in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Against all odds, the points leader - and an almost certain lock to take the championship again - Andrew Hines - redlighted away a sure win in the opening round of eliminations against the #13 qualifier Jianna Salinas. That opened the door to the two racers closest to him, albeit only slightly, as they were both more than 100 points in arrears going into eliminations.

Hines then had to sit through a long, agonizing afternoon, only able to watch helplessy as two racers that had only a mathematical chance to take the championship chewed away at his seemingly insurmountable points lead. Going into the semi-finals, Matt Smith was closest, just 46 points behind, and facing a major underdog in Salinas. He'd been trailing smoke on the top end for several passes, and the engine came completely undone at half track in the semi, ending his championship hopes and advancing Salinas to her first ever final round.

Still in the hunt at that point was Jerry Savoie and all he had to do was get past Salinas to take the event title and the world championship for the second time (first in 2016). It all went sideways for Savoie as his "White Alligator" bike lost fire on the burnout and when they refired it, sounded very "unhappy". He walked the bike up to the line, but could only watch Salinas run away to win the race and watch his championship aspirations evaporate in the late afternoon sun. Andrew Hines on the other hand, must have come close to fainting at the turn of luck that gave him his sixth world championship, and first since 2015.

The final points standings are listed just below at the conclusion of yesterday's reports.

The latest update as of November 17, 2019 - 4:30 PM

NHRA Auto Club Finals logo

The 2019 Mello Yello NHRA drag racing season is officially in the books. Today's eliminations at Pomona's Auto Club Raceway saw some dramatic action - both on and off the track - and everything from upsets to sure bets on the track. Four professional champions were crowned, all of them former or defending champions, and all very deserving of their success in 2019.

NEWS FLASH: From the "you can't make this s*+t up" department, Robert Hight does a half-track burnout in the Funny Car final, then shuts off the car, climbs out and leaves it on the track while final opponent Jack Beckman runs low e.t. of eliminations to take the event win, and finish just EIGHT points behind Hight in the championship fight.

The method behind that apparent bit of madness, was the possible "crossing the boundary line" penalty that Hight could have received if he'd crossed the centerline or hit the wall in the final, costing him enough points to give the chmapionship to Beckman. While it was a questionable move - even John Force seemed puzzled, it was effective.

LATER NEWS FLASH: In a post-race interview, Hight claimed that he did not intentionally shut off the car, and it simply died when he started backing up. A look at the video shows that the car did not move in reverse, but we've got to accept his statement as is. He did state it would have been dangerous to leave the car out there at half track, and it certainly is, but just as shocking was that Beckman made a full pass with Hight's disabled car in the other lane. Strange days indeed.









The latest update as of November 17, 2019 - 3:30 PM









The latest update as of November 17, 2019 - 2:30 PM









The latest update as of November 17, 2019 - 1:00 PM

The first round of eliminations in the PRO classes is in the books and the championship battles continue in all categories. The number of contenders grew shorter, as Billy Torrence (TF), and John Force (FC) fell by the wayside. In Pro Stock, despite turning on the winlight, Jason Line and Bo Butner dropped out as points leader Erica Enders advanced in a MUCH-hyped race against Greg Anderson.

The math was simple in the some of the first round pairings, as team-mates Robert Hight and John Force fought it out and the "ol' truck driver" lost his bid for a 17th championship, as Robert advanced and kept the lead over Jack Beckman and Matt Hagan. Here's the updated points totals as we prepare for the second round of eliminations.









The latest update as of November 17, 2019 - 11:00 AM

Going into the first round of eliminations at today's season-ending NHRA Auto Club Finals, all four professional championships are still up for grabs. We've made a chart with the updated points standings in each class, and will be updating them throughout eliminations. Check back after each round for our synopsis and the latest totals.


Four drivers are still in the hunt, led by defending Mello Yello champion Steve Torrence, closely pursued by former (2017) champ Brittany Force, Doug Kalitta, and the real wild card in the field, Billy Torrence. The title chase could end in the first round if the three challengers fail to win, but if Steve O goes out early, the championship could go down to the later rounds. Stay tuned!



Another class with four drivers in the hunt going into the first round, featuring the (could be) titanic battle between Robert Hight and John Force. The other two contenders faced easier opponents as Jack Beckman lined up against John Hale in the Worsham Family rent-a-flopper, while Matt Hagan was paired with the hit-and-miss Jim Head Racing car wheeled by Jonnie Lindberg. If Hight loses to Force, and Beckman and Hagan lose in the opening stanza, the championship goes to Hight. It's likely there will be at least one contender advancing to give Hight a battle in the later rounds.



The pre-race drama centered around the "grudge" match between points leader Erica Enders and (already eliminated) countdown entrant Greg Anderson in what degenerated into a war of words between the opposing teams (Elite Motorsports and KB Racing). Somewhat lost in the rhetoric were the three contenders trailing Enders in the points war. Jeg Coughlin Jr. was the only one with a serious chance, but Jason Line (Anderson's teammate) and Bo Butner still had a mathematical chance to overtake Enders for the title.



Barring a first round metldown by points leader Andrew Hines the championship was virtually decided going into Pomona. One of the trailing contenders (Eddie Krawiec) was eliminated from contention at the conclusion of qualifying but Matt Smith and Jerry Savoie still were in with a slim chance, as long as Hines lost early and they advanced to the final round.


The latest update as of October 30, 2019

California Hot Rod Reunion logo

We start today's coverage with the final qualifying sessions for Top Fuel and Funny Car from Saturday. The first trio of pictures could be sub-titled "So You Want To Drive a Front-Engine TOP FUEL Car?". Check out the closeup shots by clicking on the "thumbnail" images to see just what it's like at the far end of the track. Flames and smoke and lots of oil more times than you'd care to experience, but that's old-style Top Fuel racing.

Rick McGee - 'Overtime Special' --- Dusty Green - 'Triple Threat' --- Phil Ruskowski - 'Xhibitionist'

(LEFT) Check out the full-size image of Rick McGee's cowl and roll cage as he cruises through the top end; it's coated in oil, but that's pretty much normal for an AA/Fuel Dragster.

(CENTER) Oil coming out of the spark plug tubes is spraying Dusty Green as he crouches down in the cockpit to avoid another oil-bath.

(RIGHT) The third shot shows flames coming out of one header, smoke out of the other, and oil and other debris all over the cowl as Phil Ruskowski coasts to a stop in his Western Canadian fueler.


Going into the second qualifying session, all 14 of the cars in attendance had laid down a run, and only one (Bret Williamson), had failed to run at least a six-second pass. The bump spot stood at a soft 6.314 (Adam Sorokin), with just five cars in the 5-second zone already, so an all 5-second field was a definite possibility. As a bonus to the fans, a third qualifying session was added for the late afternoon, immediately before the first round of Funny Car eliminations.

Rick McGee - 'Overtime Special' --- Bret Williamson - 'Forever Young'

(LEFT) No improvement on his Friday 6.108 - 194.91 clocking saw Rick McGee drop from #6 to the bump spot in the "Overtime Special". With just one shot left to stay in the field, the team was looking vulnerable.

(RIGHT) On the other hand, Bret Williamson in the "Forever Young" entry stepped up big-time from a bottom of the pack 10-second pass to the #4 spot on the ladder with a solid 5.889 at an early shutoff (or piston-melting) 226.51 mph clocking.

Phil Ruskowski - 'Xhibitionist' --- Dusty Green - 'Triple Threat'

Here's two of the culprits from the oil-bath sequence at the top of this report with (LEFT) Victoria, BC's Phil Ruskowski reeling in the "Xhibitionist" after what must have been a career best - corrections invited - 6.474 - 218.48 pass. It wasn't perfect as it blew up big time on the top end and trailed smoke and flames through the shutdown area. Despite improving by 4-tenmths from Friday's pass, his efforts left the "Island Nitro" team in the #12 spot.

(RIGHT) Coming back to nostalgia Top Fuel racing, Dusty Green wheeled the "Triple Threat" car to a 6.192 at only 184 mph to move up one spot to #10 on the list, barely a tenth short of the bubble. If he could have kept on the throttle a little longer, he might have bumped his way into the field.

Most of the rest of the field, including the top three qualifiers failed to improve, and the only previously qualified car that stepped up was Adam Sorokin in the "Champion Speed Shop" entry who moved up one notch from the bump spot, carding a 6.069 that bested Friday's 6.314 by a full quarter-second. Getting bumped from the field was Tyler Hilton who fell from #7 to #11 as he couldn't improve on Friday's 6.282 in the Lee-family's "Great Expectations III".


The final qualifying session for the Funny Cars started with the bump spot held down by rookie at a decent, but not exactly heart-stopping 6.052 - 227.11. Sitting below him were a couple of hitters (Brad Thompson & Bill Windham) to make Gregory's position a precarious perch indeed. First out of the lanes were two of the non-qualifiers as they attempted to fight their way into the field.

Billy Morris - 'Problem Child' --- Brad Thompson - 'Jailbreak'

(LEFT) Leading off the session was #7 qualifier Billy Morris in the "Problem Child" Camaro, and he laid an absolute bomb on the field with a career best - and new low qualifying pass - of 5.631 - 255.59.

(RIGHT) With his back against the wall and just outside the field in the #17 spot with a 6.07 best on Friday, Brad Thompson stepped up too as his much improveed 5.783 at an early shutoff 228.23 vaulted the "Jailbreak" Camaro up to the #10 spot.

Dan Horan - 'Strive Testing' --- Kris Krabill - 'Cascade Automotive'

(LEFT) The next pair featured two racers on opposite sides of the field, with Dan Horan "Strive Testing" Camaro (what else?) knocking a full tenth off his very good 5.73 clocking on Friday, and fell just short of the top spot in the field with an excellent 5.634 - coupled with a big speed of 262.44.

(RIGHT) Not exactly breathing the rarified air at the top of the heap, "Hollywood" Kris Krabill was looking a little vulnerable in the #15 spot at 5.91 in his "Cascade Automotive" Camaro, but he put down a very solid 5.813 - 212.99 to tentatively pull up to the #14 spot. However, it evaporated as quick as the cloud of smoke at the finish line after Krabill's pass. An oildown DQ'd the pass and left Krabill in the #15 position.

Ryan Hodgson - 'Pacemaker'

Languishing all the way down in #14, Ryan Hodgson needed to pick up the pace in the (aptly named) "Pacemaker", and crew chief Bob Papirnick found the combination as Hodgson ran a class leading 5.622 - 250.41 to move up to the #1 slot.

Mike Halstead - 'Smokey's Darkside' --- Danny Gerber - 'Wasn't Easy'

(LEFT) On the outside looking in after Friday's two sessions, with a best of 6.182 was Mike Halstead in the "Smokey's Darkside" Challenger, but he didn't give up without a fight as his piston-burning 6.042 pass at a "pedal to the metal" 239.82 mph showed.

(RIGHT) Sitting at the absolute bottom - as in a best pass of 20+ seconds was Danny Gerber in the aptly named "Wasn't Easy" Firebird, but he jumped right into the field with a career best 5.80 - 240.38 to make it an all 5-second field and put himself in #14.

Justin Taylor - 'Evil, Wicked, Mean & Nasty' --- Matt Melendez - 'Cacklin' Critter'

(LEFT) Second generation racer Justin Taylor in the "Evil, Wicked, Mean & Nasty" tribute Mustang was sitting somewhat comfortably in the field with a career best 5.810 (#15), a full tenth in front of the 5.910 bump spot (Kris Krabill) but he didn't sit on his earlier best, as he pounded out an even (slightly) better 5.809 - 245.67, remaining in the #15 position.

(LEFT) Already well into the field with an earlier 5.795 pass on Friday, Matt Melendez backed it up with a very good, but no better, 5.863 in the "Cacklin' Critter" Challenger to remain in the lucky #13 slot. A little extra excitement was added to the run when he got the rear wheels off the asphalt in the deep end.

Jerry Espeseth - 'Rolling Thunder 2.0' (left) - Jeff Arend - 'California Hustler' (right) --- Jerry Espeseth - 'Rolling Thunder 2.0'

(LEFT) Here's a great side-by-side chute shot with Jerry Espeseth in the ex-Jason Rupert "Rolling Thunder 2.0" car (left) slowing down beside Jeff Arend in Don Nelson's "California Hustler" (right). Both racers were already well into the field, but Arend - the points leader going into the CHRR - wanted to move up from his #9 position and he did so in a BIG way, erasing his earlier best of 5.776 with an excellent 5.662 - 255.92 to climb all the way to the #5 spot on the leadder.

(RIGHT) Not improving though was Jerry Espeseth as his Friday best of 5.795 wasn't bettered by his 5.812 on this pass, leaving the "Rolling Thunder 2.0" Camaro in #12.

After Espeseth and Arend ran, the session closed with a pair of single runs, as Cory Lee and Bill Windham attempted to fight their way into eliminations, but neither racer was able to improve as they both shut off at half track to set the field for the first round scheduled for the late afternoon.


Kyle Hough - 'Nanook' --- Rodney Flournoy - 'Godzilla'

After languishing in the pits for two days, the AA (Awful Awful) Fuel Altereds made their first appearance of the weekend, led off by (LEFT) Kyle Hough in the family-owned-driven-tuned "Nanook" facing (RIGHT) the "Godzilla" car of the Flournoy family, wheeled by Rodney Flournoy. They didn't disappoint as Hough led the way to the finish line, stopping the clocks first with a nice 6.443 - 228.34 to eclipse Flournoy's early shut-off 6.808 - 193.65 pass.

Jason Richey - ' The Patriot' --- Shane Harter - 'Dave Benjamin' (rear) - Jeff Bennett - 'Pure Heaven III' (front)

(LEFT) The second pair saw the Jason Richey-driven "Patriot" move to the top of the heap with a very good 6.173 - 224.70 to pull away from James Day in the "Good News Coupe", as he carded a 6.529 - 205.98

(RIGHT) In a shot that you don't see too often, Jeff Bennett in the Leon Fitzgerald-tuned "Pure Heaven III" Bantam roadster, leads the Dave Benjamin car (driven by Shane Harter) through the shutdown area. Bennett turned a good 6.606 - 196.50 number, but just past the finish line made an abrupt left turn into Harter's lane.

Shane Harter - 'Dave Benjamin' --- Ron Hope - 'Rat Trap'

(LEFT) Here's a better view of the Benjamin car (truck?) with fellow Washingtonian Shane Harter at the wheel. He was on a good pass against Bennett, leading him until the blower belt departed at the 1000 ft mark, and slowing him to a 6.789 - 166.95 clocking

(RIGHT) In the final pairing of the AA/Fuel Altrereds, ageless veteran Ron Hope whipped the "Rat Trap" to a 6.733 - 193.63 to easily take the measure of "Iron" Mie Boyd in the (in)famous "Winged Express" of Al "Mousie" Marcellus. Boyd left the line with Hope, but took out the 330 ft timing block and joined Hope in the right lane until he weaved his way back into the left lane just after half track.


Going into the final session, the Top Fuel field stretched from Mendy Fry's leading 5.595 down to the bump spot 6.108 held by Rick McGee. Trailing him were six racers with clockings ranging from 6.177 to 6.623. With 14 cars in the pits, the battle to make the "Quick 8" was more intense than seen since the CHRR had 15 AA/FD entries in 2016.

The first pair out of the lanes showed that there was going to be some movement on the ladder, as Dan Horan Jr. moved from #6 to #4, picking up from a previous 5.98 best to a 5.942 time. Two pairs later, both lanes saw some much better numbers on the scoreboards, as Pete Wittenberg pushed the "Circuit Breaker" to a great 5.691 - 252.27 to jump from #5 to #2, just a few hundreths behind low qualifier Mendy Fry. In the other lane, Rick McGee moved off the bump spot (6.108) to #6 with a solid 5.899 at only 223.99. Both runs were career bests for their respective drivers.

Tyler Hilton - 'Great Expectations III' --- Bryan Hall - 'H & H Nomad'

(LEFT) With the bump spot now down to 6.069 (held by Adam Sorokin), all eyes were on Tyler Hilton in the Lee-family "Great Expectations III" and he delivered with a last ditch 5.982 - 235.19 to bump Sorokin from the field and take over the bubble. But the good news story for the Hilton-Lee camp ended in the very next pair as Frank McBee Jr. in the Valley Thunder car turned a - stop me if you've heard this one before - career best of 5.901 - 249.90 to take the #7 spot and move Dan Horan Jr. down to the new #8 slot at 5.942 - 248.48.

(RIGHT) Down to his last chance, rookie Top Fuel pilot Bryan Hall in the H&H Nomad came into the session in the #9 spot at 6.177 and needed to pick up more than two tenths to make the cut for Sunday's eliminations. He gave it his best shot, posting a 6.134 - 225.26 but it left him well outside the field in the #10 spot. Still, not a bad debut for the new team.

Rick White - 'Neal & White'

We knew the hits couldn't keep coming in every pair down the track - or could they? - but Rick White in the Neal & White fueler failed to improve on his #4 position courtesy of an earlier 5.793 shot. After so many great pairings and bump after bump, career best after career best, the session closed with a cloud of piston (and other parts) smoke as non-qualifying Brendan Murray blew it up just past half track.


Matt Bynum (left) vs Tony Jurado (right) --- Ryan Hodgson (left) vs Kris Krabill (right)

(LEFT) The first pair of eliminations featured Matt Bynum in the "Nitro Nick" Camaro (left side) matched against Tony Jurado in the "Capitol Punishment" ....Camaro and they put on a good race to kick things off. The higher qulified Bynum slowed a quarter second from 5.69 to a 5.940 at a piston-burning 205.40 mph, while Jurado picked up half a tenth and turned on the winlight with a very good 5.730 - 245.23 to advance to Sunday's quarter-final.

(RIGHT) It was the top against the bottom in the second pair as top qualifier Ryan Hodgson (left side) in the "Pacemaker" car lined up against "Hollywood" Kris Krabill and the race held true to form as a late-leaving Hodgson caught Krabill at the 1000 ft mark and put up a scoreboard-busting 5.635 - 249.90 to oust Krabill's 5.895 at a very early shut-off 196.79 mph.

Justin Taylor (left) vs Billy Morris (right) --- Bobby Cottrell (left) vs Matt Melendez 'Cacklin' Critter'(right)

(LEFT) In a big upset, the #15 qualified Justin Taylor (left side) treed Billy Morris (.130 to .196) and ran away from him with a great 5.869 - 232.19 pass. Morris in the "problem Child" got out of shape, nailed the half track speed block and shut off to a losing 6.648 - 150.68. With the win, Taylor earned the right to face Tony Jurado in the second round, albeit without lane choice.

(RIGHT) The first race with championship implications came up next, as Bobby Cottrell in the "Austin & O'Brien" Camaro faced off against darkhorse Matt Melendez (right side) in his "Cacklin' Critter" (not a Camaro!) Challenger. If you discount the reaction times (.109 to .162 in Cottrell's favour), Melendez held the lead until nearly half track, but truthfully, he was behind from the starting line and shut off a little early to a losing 5.880 - 209.46 against Cottrell's very good 5.722 - 247.47. The second round will see Cottrell facing Jeff Arend (if Arend gets past Jerry Espeseth) in a full-tilt showdown that could decide the 2019 Heritage Series Funny Car title.

Dan Horan - 'Strive Testing' --- Jeff Arend - 'California Hustler'

(LEFT) After a lengthy cleanup necessitated by some major internal destruction of Matt Melendez's engine in the previous pair, the third championship contender, Dan Horan Jr., came up to face Danny Gerber's "Wasn't Easy" Trans-Am. It was a close race until half trck, with Gerber leaving first and leading until he started to spin the tires and shutoff to an 8.107 - 96.14, while Horan kept the candles lit all the way to a winning 5.802 - 254.47 (BIG speed!) to keep his championship hopes alive.

(RIGHT) The final challenger for the championship, Jeff Arend, driving Don Nelson's beautiful "California Hustler" Firebird, faced a tough opponent in Jerry Espeseth. The former Jason Rupert car - also tuned by Rupert at this race - was ready to give Arend a battle but Espeseth forgot to leave the line on time (.238 light!) and was never in the fight despite a very good 5.780 - 252.66 pass. It was all academic as Arend left first and posted the better looking scoreboard: 5.721 - 249.30 and the all-important winlight.

Brad Thompson - 'Jailbreak' --- James Day - 'Speed Sport'

(LEFT) With two pairs left to run and the skies darkening by the minute, the pace got even quicker as Brad Thompson in the "Jailbreak" Camaro blasted out the second quickest run of the round, with his 5.677 - 244.78 easily covered James Day's 7.056 - 184.85 in Jim Maroney's "Speed Sport" Omni tribute car.

(RIGHT) The picture shows what happened as Day lit the tires on the launch and was several car lengths behind as he passed the tree. It was game over in a hurry, but Day got on it again and was up to 200 mph at the 1000 ft mark before shutting off for good.

Steven Densham - 'Teacher's Pet'

The final race of the round was an absolute "pick-'em" affair, as Steven Densham in the "Teacher's Pet" left first by three hundreths of a second and held on for the win over Rian Konno in the "Konno, Lemon & Kazanjian" tribute Mustang by a margin of just ONE THOUSANDTH of a second. The numbers were Densham 5.807- 242.19 versus Konno's 5.779 - 250.04 as the two competitors closed out the first round of eliminations in spectacular fashion.


Kyle Hough - 'Nanook' --- Ron Hope - 'Rat Trap'

(LEFT) The fabled "Nanook" ,with three generations of the Hough family involved, paired up against Jason Richey in his "Patriot" and it wasn't even close as young Kyle Hough blasted out an excellent 6.173 - 223.14 to obliterate Richey's out of shape and slowing 8.907 - 122.68 effort.

(RIGHT) Next up were Ron Hope in the "Rat Trap" against Rodney Flournoy and "Godzilla". Both cars put down decent passes, with Flournoy taking the winlight at 6.78 - 202 mph to cover Hope's slower 7.065 but faster 215 mph run.

--- Jeff Bennett - 'Pure Heaven III' Mike Boyd - 'Winged Express'

(LEFT) The last pair of Fuel Altereds was to feature James Day in the "Good News Coupe" against Jeff Bennett in the "Pure Heaven III", but Day lost fire before the burnout and could only sit and watch Bennett make a single pass. Jeff made the most of his opportunity as he cranked out a good 6.74 - 204 mph pass.

(RIGHT) To close out the day/night, the ageless "Winged Express" of Marcellus & Borsch, ably driven by "Iron" Mike Boyd came up to make a solo pass. Unable to be competitive against the more technically advanced AA/FA's, it still puts on quite a show and didn't disappoint as the car moved from left to right and back again at the 800 ft makr, eventually changing lanes at 1000 ft and crossing the finish line in the other lane. Just another day at the "office" for Boyd.


It's not too often that the "Backup Girls" make a serious appearance at the races, but the nostalgia/heritage races bring out the best of them and we're lucky that Bob Snyder was close enough to the action to grab a few good shots. Remember, it's all in good fun and just like all the retro names on the cars, it adds an element to the show.

Backup Girls --- Backup Girls Backup Girls --- Backup Girls --- Backup Girls --- Backup Girls

Backup Girls

The latest update as of October 29, 2019

California Hot Rod Reunion logo

The 28th annual began under sunny skies on Friday at Bakersfield's famed Auto Club Famoso Raceway. It was the first of three days of a mix of nostaliga car show, memorabilia vendors, swap meet afficionados, hot rod enthusiasts, and some serious hardcore drag racers, the Reunion has something for everyone. And what we have to start our report is the first qualifying session for the (NITRO) Nostaliga Funny Cars.


James Maher - 'Good Vibrations' --- Mike Halstead - 'Smokey's Darkside' AA/FC

(LEFT) First out of the (water) box was James Maher in the brand new (and not in competition this weekend) "Good Vibrations" car.

(RIGHT) Making the first qualifying pass of the weekend was Mike Halstead in the "Smokey's Darkside" Challenger. Mike put down a decent 6.182 - 236.01 that put him #15 in the field.

Brad Thompson - 'Jailbreak' AA/FC --- Brad Thompson - 'Jailbreak' AA/FC

(LEFT) and (RIGHT) It's two views of Brad Thompson backing up the "Jailbreak" Camaro under the direction of his BackUp assistant. "Kitten with a Whip" is the first thing that comes to mind. After the reversing performance, he "whipped" his mount to a 6.079 at an early shutoff 210.54 mph, to slot into the #14 position.

Kris Krabill - 'Cascade Automotive' AA/FC --- Ryan Hodgson - 'Pacemaker' AA/FC

(LEFT) Despite the ominous appearance of copious amounts of smoke out of the headers as he staged - and especially when he brought the R's up - "Hollywood" Kris Krabill saw the "Cascade Automotive" Camaro clean up on the launch and post a respectable 5.910 - 243.99 to hold down the #11 position at the end of the session.

(RIGHT) Ryan Hodgson "Pacemaker" 5.891 - 245.72

Justin Taylor - 'Evil, Wicked, Mean & Nasty' AA/FC --- Jerry Espeseth - 'Rolling Thunder 2.0' AA/FC

(LEFT) Justin Taylor "Evil, Wicked, Mean & Nasty" 5.810 - 227.54

(RIGHT) Jerry Espeseth "Rolling Thunder 2.0" 5.945 - 236.92

James Day - 'Speed Sport' AA/FC --- Tony Jurado - 'Capitol Punishment' AA/FC

(LEFT) James Day "Speed Sport 5.690 - 254.66

(RIGHT) Tony Jurado "Capitol Punishment" 5.780 250.00


Drew Austin - A/FD --- Rick McGee - 'Overtime Special' AA/FD

(LEFT) Drew Austin 5.941 - 230.76

(RIGHT) Rick McGee "Overtime Speical" 6.108 - 194.91

Bret Williamson - 'Forever Young' AA/FD --- Mendy Fry - 'High Speed Motorsports' AA/FD

(LEFT) Bret Williamson "Forever Young" 10.766 - 74.67

(RIGHT) Mendy Fry "High Speed Motorsport" 5.595 - 237.42

Tyler Hilton - 'Great Expectations III' AA/FD --- Dusty Green - 'Triple Threat' AA/FD

(LEFT) Tyler Hilton "Great Expectations III" 6.282 - 186.15

(RIGHT) Dusty Green "Triple Threat" 6.738 - 147.57

Hooters Backup Girls --- Frank McBee Jr. - 'Valley Thunder' AA/FD

(LEFT) In case he needed extra help backing up (triple vision?) Dusty Green was able to deploy a trio of HOOTERS girls to make the reversing process easier

(RIGHT) Frank McBee Jr. "Valley Thunder" 6.987 - 129.27


Ryan Hodgson - 'Pacemaker' --- Matt Bynum - 'Nitro Nick'

(LEFT) Ryan Hodgson "Pacemaker" 5.815 - 248.84

(RIGHT) Matt Bynum "Nitro NIck" 5.767 - 250.60

Billy Morris - 'Problem Child' --- Dan Horan - 'Strive Testing'

(LEFT) Billy Morris "Problem Child" 5.775 - 238.72

(RIGHT) Dan Horan "Strive Testing" 5.768 - 258.72

Jeff Arend - 'California Hustler --- James Day - 'Speed Sport'

(LEFT) Jeff Arend "California Hustler" 5.860 - 245.90

(RIGHT) James Day "Speed Sport" 5.735 - 254.14

Steven Densham - 'Teacher's Pet' --- Steven Densham - 'Teacher's Pet'

(LEFT) Leading his son into the water at the start of his burnout, Gary Densham signals Steven to hit the throttle.

(RIGHT) Steven Densham "Teacher's Pet" 5.751 - 251.72

Jeff Gregory - 'Madness' --- Bobby Cottrell - 'Austin & O'Brien'

(LEFT) Jeff Gregory "Madness" 6.053 - 227.11

(RIGHT) Bobby Cottrell "Austin & O'Brien" 5.683 - 258.50

Bill Windham - 'Shakedown'

Bill Windham "Shakedown" 6.218 - 227.77

The latest update as of October 13, 2019

Our photographer (Bob Snyder) managed to get out to Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park on the weekend to attend the second to last event on the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series calendar. The Heritage Nostalgia Drags were run in conjunction with a Division Seven points race and the attendance by the Group One (A/Fuel, Jr. Fuel, and 7.0 PRO) cars was "somewhat" underwhelming.

Three A/Fuelers appeared, three Jr. Fuelers, and four cars in the 7.0 Pro class. One of the 7.0 cars failed to appear for eliminations and there was only one real side-by-side race during eliminations (the 7.0 final) but it was decided on the starting line with a redlight. Our report is pretty slim but here's what we've got.

Kin Bates Jr (near lane) vs Drew Austin - (far lane)

A quick glance at the photo makes it appear that the captioned e.t.s/speeds are misplaced.. but think again. Drew Austin (far lane) succesfully pedalled his way to victory after smoking the tires on the launch. While it looks like Kin Bates Jr. (near lane) got off the line in good shape, he obviously ran into problems down track as the 10.705 - 79.73 attests to.

Don Enriquez (near lane) vs Brad Woodard - (far lane)

Taking the win the Junior Fuel class was Brad Woodard (far lane) as his 6-second pass easily covered the ageless veteran Don Enriquez (near lane) who red-lighted and slowed to a coasting 10-second pass.

 Lawton Ferreira Jr - Top Flight (near lane) vs - Steve Faller - Bad Moon (far lane)

Looking for all the word like a pair of "junior" Fuel Altereds, the 7.0 Pro finalists put on a really tight race - at least on the scoreboards, but the redlight shining in Lawton Ferreira Jr's (near lane), plus his 6.99 breakout pass (remember: it's a 7.00 index class), and made Steve Faller (far lane) the winner.

The latest update as of September 12, 2019

Mopar Express Lane Nationals

NHRA Reading Nats (Maple Grove Raceway - Reading, PA)

It certainly was a lost weekend for many of the championship contenders, with every one of the points leaders going into the Reading event dropping out of first place on Sunday afternoon. While it was just the first race of the six event "Countdown" for the pro drivers (and riders), the Top Alcohol championship chase is winding down to the wire for most of the top contenders. Let's start with Top Fuel and work our way down to the alky racers.


At the conclusion of the U.S. Nationals, Steve Torrence was sitting on top of the (NHRA) world, with a gigantic points lead, but that scenario underwent a major reset as the Countdown to the Championship began. His 558 point lead over #2 Doug Kalitta shrank to just 20 points going into the Reading event, then it evaporated entirely following a first round loss to Clay Millican. A slight holeshot by Millican and an almost identical e.t. resulted in a margin of just seven thousandths of a second at the 1000-ft finish line.

Many sports use the cliche of "a game of inches" but in drag racing it's literally a game of milliseconds; margins so small that they're almost invisible to the naked eye. But that's the way it goes and Torrence has been on the winning side of so mahy of those equations over the past two years. Adding to his pain was father Billy Torrence (aka: The Blocker) hazing the tires in the first round and losing ground in the chase to the tune of a 148 point deficit going into the next event at St. Louis.

Taking full advantage of Torrence's loss was Doug Kalitta who fought his way to the final, before dropping a close decision to Kalitta Motorsports teammate Richie Crampton. When the mosh pit on the Maple Grove starting line finally dissipated, Kalitta had a 33 point lead over the new #2 Brittany Force and Crampton had vaulted from #9 to #5, sitting just 54 points in arrears of Kalitta.

Force, by the way, had herself quite a weekend, with a new national e.t. record at 3.623 - the quickest run in Top Fuel history - the low qualifier (obviously) and nine bonus points for the quickest e.t. in three of the four qualifying sessions. Her dream race was cut short by a fuel leak as she prepared to stage in the semi-final against Crampton. A very tough way to bow out when she had a very real shot at coming out of the race with the points lead. As it stands she's less than two rounds behind Kalitta with momentum definitely on her side.

Other movers in the standings - in a downward direction - were "giant-killer" Clay Millican who dropped three spots from #6 to #9 and now sits 88 points behind Kalitta. Antron Brown, Mike Salinas, and Leah Pritchett all dropped one notch, while rookie of the year (by a BIG margin) Austin Prock gained one position, but oddly enough, fell to 86 points from the top after coming into Reading just 80 markers behind.


The biggest news - points-wise - during qualifying was the 15-point penalty assessed to John Force

for his third centerline infraction of the season, and that dropped him from #2 to #3 on the first day of qualifying. The second (night-time) session on Friday produced some wild runs, including J.R. Todd crossing the line too and rookie Mike McIntire Jr. reaching for the sky on the launch when a crewman forgot to lock down the wheelie bar.

That second session produced a couple of spectacularly good runs, with Bob Tasca III posting his career best speed at 335.32 mph, while Ron Capps absolutely blitzed the boards with an awesome 3.837 - 339.28 pass. It was the second fastest speed in Funny Car history, and a career best e.t. and speed for Capps. Both numbers ultimately held up as best of the weekend for the floppers.

Eliminations on Sunday opened with a major upset as John Smith (one of Paul Smith's sons) took out one of the hitters as Tasca went into instant tire smoke on the launch and Smith got down the track and turned on the winlight with a 4-second run.


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The latest update as of September 12, 2019

Mopar Express Lane Nationals

NHRA Reading Nats (Maple Grove Raceway - Reading, PA)

Scroll down to see our review of the Countdown to the Championship chases and the Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Dragster points battle. We'll update the report tomorrow and start looking at the results from Maple Grove as they come in over thw weekend. As always: STAY TUNED!

The latest update as of September 11, 2019

It always amazes me when I realize how quickly time slips by. Today marks 18 years since the day our western world changed forver - in a mix of good and bad ways - and when I reflect back on the incredible events of September 11, 2001, it seems as fresh and incredibly shocking now as it did all those years ago. Let us always remember that day and not let it slip quietly into history.

NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to The Championship review

We're almost on the eve of the start of the 2019 NHRA "Countdown to The Championship" as pit parking has begun at Reading, PA's Maple Grove Raceway and the first day of sportsman qualifying begins in less than 24 hours. The Pro and Pro Sportsman racers hit the track on Friday, and continue through eliminations on Sunday. With the re-setting of the points for the Top Ten coundtown contenders following Indy, the battle for the Mello Yello crowns now takes on a completely different dimension. While the gap between #1 and #10 is only 100 points, and only six races left in the season, an early round loss at any of those events will put a racer in a deep hole very quickly. Do that at the first two events in the countdown and your season is virtually over.

In TOP FUEL, the defending champion Steve Torrence has given up the most ground with his incredible 558 point lead over Doug Kalitta shrinking to just 20 points. That's just one round win so you can see how important qualifying as high as possible (to avoid facing the best cars early), then going rounds will be. It will be very interesting to see how "Team Torrence" works out their strategies as #10 Billy Torrence is just 100 points behind his son and he's entered all six races in the countdown. Obviously they will try to avoid head-to-head matchups until the finals, so qualifying position(s) will be ultra-important. Hang on, it's going to be quite a ride!

Looking at the results of the previous 18 races, the Torrence domination is clear, with Steve notching eight wins (during a nine-race streak), father Billy taking two Wallys, then a very steep drop-off to Doug Kalitta and Mike Salinas's two wins each, and one going to Kalitta's teammate, Richie Crampton. In the shocking but true department, the vaunted JFR team has just two Top Fuel wins in 2019, with Brittany Force in the revamped David Grubnic-tuned car, and rookie Austin Prock notching just one victory each. Even more surprising is the DSR team's T/F record, with Leah Pritchett claiming the sole win for the team, and that was the 17th race of the season (Brainerd). Obviously, the lack of Tony Schumacher competing has put a very BIG hole in their hopes, but to see Pritchett and teammate Antron Brown reach the final round just four times combined so far this year has to be especially troublesome for "The Don".

FUNNY CAR is shaping up to be one of the most interesting countdown chases since the concept was instituted. Points leader Robert Hight of the JFR team only gave up a small number of points when the reset occurred. His 105 point gap over teammate (and boss) John Force dropped to just 20, so a real intramural battle for the championship could be in the offing. One caveat however: the next four spots in the standings are occupied by DSR (Don Schumacher Racing) drivers: Tommy Johnson Jr., Jack Beckman, Ron Capps, and Matt Hagan. Even the sixth place Hagan is only 60 points behind the leader. That's a margin that could be erased in just one event.

One wild card at play in the various scenarios leading up to the Auto Club Finals - which may well be the race that decides the championship - is the parity in the class. While Hight has notched five wins and two runner-ups in 2019, the "Boss" (John Force) has but two wins and one runner-up, yet his consistent performances, which includes eleven semi-finals or better (in 18 races) and just two 1st-round losses has kept him close. And what really closed the gap is two wins in his last three races, finally breaking through the 150 win barrier. The DSR team cars have notched a total of seven wins between them, with Capps leading the way at three, Johnson and Hagan with two apiece, and Jack Beckman the only winless member of the quartet.

The other "super" team from Kalitta Motorsports has seen both their drivers, defending Mello Yello champion J.R. Todd, and second year flopper pilot Shawn Langdon visit the winners circle once. The only independent winner this season has been Bob Tasca III with two wins and seventh place in the standings. But for all intents and purposes, the battle for the Funny Car championship will boil down to a series of head-to-head matchups between the Force and Schumacher teams, with qualifying position being a major strategic move for both teams. While the hot hand(s) currently belong to Force and Hight, the balance of power could change very quickly, starting this weekend at Maple Grove Raceway.

NHRA Lucas Oil National Championship - Top Alcohol Dragster

It's been quite a season in this class, with defending champion Joey Severance getting off to a slow start, then falling well out of contention by mid-season. At this point he has no chance of capturing a fifth consecutive Lucas Oil National Championship. In fact, with just five national events and a handful of regional races left in the 2019 season, the championship chase has been whittled down to just three racers: current leader (and runner-up for the past two years) Shawn Cowie, followed very closely by the awesome A/Fuel car of Megan Meyer, and the constantly improving East Coast threat of Troy Coughlin Jr in the well-financed JEG's A/FD. The balance of the top ten points earners are mathematically eliminated already.

The championship chase which began back in February at the Winternationals has seen Cowie in front from the start, taking the win at Pomona with a series of dominating performances at the rain-delayed event, which saw most of the eliminations run on the Monday. Shawn laid down a career best 5.151 e.t. at 279.38 mph in the semi-finals and backed it up in the final round with a 5.156 - 279.73 for the victory. That early lead didn't last long however, as a first-ever trip to the Gatornationals ended with a very disappointing first-round loss, as Megan Meyer took over the lead with a win at the Gators that followed her runner-up at the Eastern Regional event there the preceding week.

Meyer continued to rack up points over the next two months, with two wins (Dallas regional and Houston national) and two runner-ups (Chicago national and Belle Rose regional), while Shawn notched a regional win at Las Vegas and a national win at Topeka, in addition to two semi-final finishes at national events in Las Vegas and Charlotte. At this juncture of the season, Meyer had built a 139-point lead after competing in five national and three regional events. Cowie had also run five nationals, but just one regional event.

Then the momentum quickly shifted in Cowie's direction, starting with the Heartland Nationals (Topeka) as he took his second national event win of 2019, while Meyer lost in the first round. He started building an incredible win streak by taking his next race, the Western regional at his home track (Mission Raceway Park), followed by another regional at Woodburn, OR, yet another regional at Sonoma, CA, then the Northwest Nationals at Seattle, and the Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd. At this point, Shawn had built a 20-round win streak, and had taken a solid points lead over Ms. Meyer. She wasn't sitting idle though as she took two regional wins at Topeka and Tulsa, then challenged Cowie at Brainerd. Going into that event, Cowie had 616 points to Meyer's 573, for a margin of just 43 points.

In the pivotal final round at Brainerd, Cowie took the automatic win when Meyer redlighted (by just -.015 second) and stretched his lead to 64 points heading into the U.S. Nationals. Both racers have enjoyed some success at that event, but Cowie's dream season hit it's first roadblock when he dropped a very close first-round match to Josh Hart - on a holeshot - and saw Meyer go on to win the event. The victory cut Cowie's lead to just TEN points, with Meyer holding a small advantage as she has three events remaining where she can improve her points total, while Cowie only has two races left.

That leads us to this weekend and in a very surprising - but not really surprising - move, the Mundie's Towing team has entered the Mopar Express Lane Nationals in an attempt to derail Meyer's chances for her first championship. In fact, the top seven racers in the T/AD points are at this race so the level of competition promises to be outstanding. For the real hard-core numbers folks, here's how Cowie and Meyer's chances for the remainder of the season stack up. Shawn has competed in eight national events and can only improve on his two worst results, namely his first round losses at Gainesville and Indy (31 points earned at each). If he can win this weekend and at his final points earning race of the season, he could post a total of 840 points.

Meyer has three chances left to improve, with Topeka (31 points earned), Charlotte (53 points), and Chicago (64 points) being the races to waive. If she can win this weekend and at her last two races of the season, she could gain 107 points, for a total of 829 points for the season. That would give Cowie the championship by just 11 points in a very close finish. Despite Cowie's four national and four regional wins, versus Meyer's three national and three regional victories, the points chase is still very much up in the air. The results of this weekend's event may well be the deciding factor in the Lucas Oil national championship for 2019. Stay tuned for what should be an incredibly exciting event, starting tomorrow.

The latest update as of September 8, 2019

FUNNY CAR CHAOS #6 - U.S. 131 Motorsports Park (Martin, MI)

US 131 Motorsports Park event header

Friday at the "Chaos" wasn't the best of days as the weather didn't cooperate with mist and occasional showers most of the day. The pits weren't exactly full either as just 14 (of the 18 pre-entered) cars were in attendance. When the on-track action got going (90 minutes late), only four cars attempted a pass in the first session, with the only seriously competitive e.t.'s coming from series regulars Brandon Lewis and Ken Singleton. We're still waiting for further updates from our correspondent, Bob Snyder.

Brandon Lewis - 'Attitude Adjuster' --- Vic Tiffin - 'Gold Digger'

In the first pairing, (LEFT) Brandon Lewis in the "Attitude Adjuster" Camaro put down a great opening shot at 3.783 and a big speed 206.90. (RIGHT) In the other lane, first time contestant in the FCC circuit, Vic Tiffin in the "Gold Digger" car cut the power a little early but still put a 4-flat 4.006 - 180.43 up on the boards.

Ken Singleton - 'High Risk'

The other pair saw Ken Singleton in his point series leading "High Risk" car blitzed the scoreboards with a very quick - but still second best - 3.786 - 200.71 pass. In the other lane, another series newcomer, Sue Christopherson in her '57 Chevy "Susie Q" crossed the centerline and was DQ'd. And that's where our report ran out. We later learned that Bob encountered some serious health issues after the Friday evening session and had to fly home to Phoenix, missing the balance of the event. We certainly hope that he fully recovers as quickly as possible and gets back to what he loves: shooting NITRO funny cars.

We will dig up some file photos from earlier FCC events to help fill in some of the details for this event.

The latest update as of September 5, 2019

FUNNY CAR CHAOS #6 - U.S. 131 Motorsports Park (Martin, MI)

US 131 Motorsports Park event header

With just one event remaining on the schedule before the season finale at Denton, TX's North Star Dragway, the FUNNY CAR CHAOS gang heads north to Michigan's famed US 131 Motorsports Park for the Funny Car Nationals. There's going to be a full field of cars from points near and far, stretching from Texas to Canada. We'll be posting photos and stories from the race as soon as Bob Snyder can get them to us and have the full report done by this time next week. Then it's on to Denton and the season ender at the end of the month. Stay tuned for that one! It's guaranteed to be a race to remember.

The latest update as of August 6, 2019

FUNNY CAR CHAOS #5 - Central Illinois Dragway (Havana, IL)

Central Illinois Dragway event header

It took a while, but we've finally got the photos and captions posted for eliminations at the FUNNY CAR CHAOS event at Havana, Illinois. After the final qualifying session in the early afternoon on Saturday, the two fields ("A" & "B") went into their respective elimination rounds, finishing up late in the evening, under the lights, as nitro funny cars should.

Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder' --- Chuck Loftin - 'Motivation'

Tod Barker - 'Back in Black' --- Mark McElwee - 'Buzzy's Nitro Bomber'

Jeff Cameron - 'Magnolia Missile' --- Mike Smith - 'Nor'Easter'

Steve Timoszyk - 'Detroit Tiger' --- Joey Haas - 'Nimrod' (left) - Allan Middendorf - 'American Outlaw' (right)

Allan Middendorf - 'American Outlaw' --- Mark McElwee - 'Buzzy's Nitro Bomber'

Chuck Loftin - 'Motivation' (left) - Steve Timoszyk - 'Detroit Tiger' (right) --- Fred Farndon - 'Play it Loud' (left) - Nancy Matter - 'Guardian for Heroes'

Joey Haas - 'Nimrod' --- Jeff Cameron - 'Magnolia Missile'

Robert Slaughter - 'Smokey the Bear' --- Jeff Cameron - 'Magnolia Missile' (left) vs Mike Smith - 'Nor'Easter' (right)

Tod Barker - 'Back in Black' (far lane) vs Joey Haas - 'Nimrod' (near lane) --- Tod Barker - 'Back in Black' (far lane) vs Joey Haas - 'Nimrod' (near lane)

Here's a pair of shots of the "B" field semi-finalists: burning out and launching. The race was over very quickly, as Tod Barker red-lighted in the "Back in Black" Corvette (-.115 light) and wasted his superior 4.31 - 166 effort as Joey Haas took the automatic win-light with a 4.53 - 154 pass to advance to the final round.

Jeff Cameron - 'Magnolia Missile' (far lane) vs Mike Smith - 'Nor'Easter' (near lane) --- Mark McElwee - 'Buzzy's Nitro Bomber' (far lane) vs Allan Middendorf - 'American Outlaw' (near lane)

(LEFT) In the other "B" field semi, Jeff Cameron in the "Magnolia Missile" laid a huge holeshot on Mike Smith in the "Nor'Easter". The reaction times were .041 for Cameron and .203 for a somewhat sleepy Smith. But the win went to Smith as his much quicker 4.22 at an early shutoff 134 mph erased the big starting line margin of Cameron, who could only manage a 4.63 - 150 in the loss.

(RIGHT)The first "A" field semi matched Mark McElwee in the very cool "Buzzy's Nitro Bomber" (far lane) against the BIG flame shooting "American Outlaw" of Allan Middendorf. What might have appeared to be a Bambi vs Godzilla battle went to McElwee as Middendorf was disqualified for hitting the wall before the finish line. The numbers were a solid 4.07 - 160 for McElwee and a very good 3.82 at 198 mph for Middendorf. Damage to the "Outlaw" was confined to a left front fender.

Nancy Matter - 'Guardian for Heroes' (far lane) vs Steve Timoszyk - 'Detroit Tiger' (near lane) --- Joey Haas - 'Nimrod' (far lane) vs Mike Smith - 'Nor'Easter' (near lane)

Joey Haas - 'Nimrod' (far lane) vs Mike Smith - 'Nor'Easter' (near lane) --- Steve Timoszyk - 'Detroit Tiger' (far lane) vs Mark McElwee - 'Buzzy's Nitro Bomber' (near lane)

Mike Smith & Bill Dee - 'Nor'Easter' --- Steve Timoszyk & Tony Tierney - 'Detroit Tiger'

(LEFT) The victory party started quickly for the "B" field winners as driver Mike Smith and car owner Bill Dee celebrated their first win of the FCC season via a series of good passes: 4.52 - 118; 4.13 - 141; 4.22 - 134; and 4.18 - 149 in the final round.

(RIGHT) Big winners on the night in the "A" field were the "Detroit Tiger" team of driver Steve Timoszyk and car owner TonyTierney

The latest update as of July 29, 2019

FUNNY CAR CHAOS #5 - Central Illinois Dragway (Havana, IL)

Central Illinois Dragway event header

The Funny Car Chaos crew moved into Central Illinois Dragway for the fifth (of seven) events on their 2019 calendar. With it being the 50th anniversary of the track's existence, the race had a special feeling and the spectators were primed and ready for nitro funny car racing, backed up with several nostalgia circuits of Pro Stocks, Super Stocks, and a Quick 16 bracket. With two qualifying sessions on tap, under the lights, the Friday night show promised to be great. Making it even more interesting was the attendance of a number of cars that don't compete in the south and southwestern events. Check out our first batch of photos from Bob Snyder below to see what we mean.

FUNNY CAR CHAOS qualifying under the lights on Friday night (July 26)








The latest update as of July 29, 2019

FUNNY CAR CHAOS #5 - Central Illinois Dragway (Havana, IL)

Central Illinois Dragway event header

We've received a heap of photos from our trusty correspondent Bob Snyder but the clock is ticking down and it's going to be tomorrow and Wednesday before we can get them all posted and captioned. The important details: aka "Who Won?" are as follows:

A Field
WINNER: Steve Timoszyk in the "Detroit Tiger" 4.05 - 175 mph
Runner-Up: Mark McElwee in the "Buzzy's Bomber" 9.85 - 79 mph

B Field
WINNER: Mike Smith in the "Nor'Easter" 4.18 - 149 mph
Runner-Up: Joey Haas in the "Nimrod" 4.50 - 153 mph

UNITED NITRO FUNNY CAR - Pacific Raceways (Kent, WA)

Goodguys 2019 event poster

We've "borrowed" a number of photos from last Friday's (July 26) UNFC event at Pacific Raceways. It was a one-day (actually night) event run as part of the Goodguys Nostalgia Drags. The format saw all cars make two qualifying passes, then the two quickest came back in the final for the money run. Courtesy of the UNFC Facebook page, Darr Hawthorne and FuelCurve.com we've got the winner and runner-up details.

WINNER: Jim Maroney in the Speed Sport" Omni at 6.41 - 188.36
Runner-Up: Bobby Cottrell in the "Austin & O'Brien" Camaro at 7.18 - 140.50

The latest update as of July 24, 2019

Pine Valley Raceway event header

Day One of the Funny Car Chaos event at Pine Valley Raceway (Lufkin, TX)

With the extended break in posting here at NORTHERN THUNDER, we're working hard on catching up on race reports so things may be showing up somewhat out of order. The latest FUNNY CAR CHAOS event at Pine Valley took place on the July 4th weekend, so we're about three weeks late with the pictures (as always, courtesy of Bob & Ginger Snyder) and the catprions, with that information courtesy of Funny Car Chaos.

Southern Gasser --- Larry Bradford - 'American Dream'

With a wide variety of race cars in attendance, ranging from the headlining Nitro Funny Cars to Jets, indexed classes and three different groups of old-style Gassers, (LEFT) there was something for everyone. On the (RIGHT) is Larry Bradford in the "American Dream" Dodge Challenger, making a qualifying pass on Friday evening.

Fred Farndon - 'Play It Loud' --- Southern Gassers - Poison Gas (near lane) vs Okie Twister (far lane)

(LEFT) Still crazy after all those years.... it's ex-Canadian Fred Farndon in the ex-Shawn Bowen (Violator) car "Play it LOUD" trying hard but ending up in the B-field with a 4.72 - 116 best in qualifying. (RIGHT) After the first qualifier for the fuel cars, it was back to the gassers, with Poison Gas in the near lane and the "Okie Twister" on the far side.

Southern Gassers - Gunsmoke (near lane) --- Southern Gassers - Novadose (near lane)

More of the Southern Gassers, Dirty Southern Gassers, and Southern Outlaw Gassers. Don't expect us to figure out who's who, or what's what. Just enjoy the pics of some real grass roots racers having some not-so-serious fun. (LEFT) It's "Gunsmoke" in the near lane and (RIGHT) it's Novadose in the near lane

Larry Bradford - 'American Dream' (near lane) vs Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder' (far lane) --- Brandon Lewis - 'Attitude Adjuster' (near lane) vs Chuck Loftin - Motivation' (far lane)

(LEFT) In the second qualifying session on Friday night, Larry Bradford (near lane) paired up with Jordan Ballew in the "Ballew Thunder" Nova. Ballew made it into the B-field, while Bradford missed the cut and had to wait for the final qualifying session at noon Saturday for his last chance to make the Saturday night show.

(RIGHT) Our final picture from day one features two of the strong A-field runners, with Brandon Lewis in the "Attitude Adjuster" Camaro (near lane) putting down a very strong 4.09 - 174 mph pass to hold down the #3 spot in the A-field. On the far side is the "Motivation" Mustang of Chuck Loftin who whipped his mount to a 4.28 - 168 for the #7 slot in the A-field.

Day Two of the Funny Car Chaos event at Pine Valley Raceway (Lufkin, TX)

Southern Gassers - Rolling Thunder - A/G --- Southern Gassers - Red Rocket - C/G

More gassers - On the (LEFT) it's "Rolling Thunder an A/G car, while on the (LEFT) it's the "Red Rocket" aka Pop's Gasser, running in C/Gas.

The aptly named Rambunctious" C/Gasser leads off this seven photo sequence, launching into a serious bumper-scraping wheelie that carried the front wheels high past the 60-ft clocks.

Rambunctious C/G --- Rambunctious C/G --- Rambunctious C/G
Rambunctious C/G --- Rambunctious C/G --- Rambunctious C/G
Pigford Bros Gasser

One final shot of the Gassers as the Pigford Bros. leave with the wheels up to close out their portion of the show. Then it was back to serious business as the big show was ready to kick into action.

Round One eliminations "A" field

Standing for the anthem --- Pine Valley Raceway crowd

(LEFT) With Funny Cars in the fire-up lanes, drivers suited up and ready, the racers and spectators stood for the national anthem. (RIGHT) The large crowd filled the bleachers, primed for some serious nitro-burning action on the 1/8-th mile strip.

Jimmy Young - 'Blue Max' --- scoreboards - Young 3.92 (LOSS) - Matter 4.21 (WIN)

(LEFT) Leaving hard with the wheels up, Ronny Young in the "Blue Max" car laid down a very good 3.92 e.t. as the scoreboards showed (RIGHT) but the winlight came on in the other lane as a much slower, but quicker reacting 4.21 pass advanced Nancy Matter in the "Guardian for Heroes"to the semi-final round. The reaction times were a very good .029 for Matter and a "not so good" .330 for Young.

Nancy Matter - 'Guardian for Heroes' (near lane) vs Ronny Young - 'Blue Max' (far lane) --- Keith Jackson - 'High Heaven' (near lane) vs Brandon Lewis - 'Attitude Adjuster' -(far lane)

(LEFT) Here's another angle of the Matter vs Young battle in the first round, with Nancy clearly leaving first, and hanging on for the BIG holeshot win. (RIGHT) The next pair saw Keith Jackson (near lane) in the iconic "high Heaven" car out of Colorado, taking on Brandon Lewis (far lane) in the hard-running 'Attitude Adjuster', and dropping a close 4.08 - 184 to 4.22 - 176 decision. Jackson left on Lewis by nearly half a tenth, but the gap at the stripe was two car lengths.

Chuck Loftin - 'Motivation' --- Nick Poloson - 'Bucket List'

(LEFT) It's the relatively new "Motivation" Mustang out of Texas, owned and driven by Chuck Loftin, preparing to take on heavy hitter (RIGHT) Nick Poloson in the "Bucket List" entry.

Chuck Loftin - 'Motivation' (near lane) vs Nick Poloson - 'Bucket List' (far lane) --- Brandon Lewis - 'Attitude Adjuster'

(LEFT) Leaving first on a small holeshot, Chuck Loftin (near lane) challenged Nick Poloson (far lane) for a while, but fell back all the way to the finish line, losing with a 4.41 - 162 to Poloson's much stronger 4.04 - 185 pass. (RIGHT) We're a little out of sequence here, but we just wanted to fit in a closer picture of Brandon Lewis burning out in his "Attitude Adjuster" Camaro.

Kebin Kinsley - 'Wild Child' --- Ken Singleton - 'High Risk'

Two of the seriously fast cars paired up in the final match of the opening round, with (LEFT) Kebin Kinsley burning out in the Tommy Ahrens Motorsports "Wild Child", while (RIGHT) Ken Singleton launches the "High Risk".

Kebin Kinsley - 'Wild Child' (near lane) vs Ken Singleton - 'High Risk' (far lane) --- Scoreboards - Singleton (3.86) vs Kinsley (3.80)

(LEFT) Kebin Kinsley (near lane) launches hard in the "Wild Child" enroute to low e.t. and top speed of the meet at 3.80 - 202 mph, but a tardy leave left him in the losers lane, as Ken Singleton took the holeshot win win with a very good 3.86 - 194 pass as the scoreboards display the verdict (RIGHT). The difference was the stellar .019 reaction for Singleton, against Kinsely's .118 time.

Round One eliminations "B" field

With the sky in full darkness, the action continued under the lights as the "B" field took to the track. Due to breakage during qualofying, Robert Slaughter in the popular "Smokey the Bear" car had to be inserted into the field, replacing the broken Larry Bradford in the "American Dream" Challenger.

Clay Cunningham - 'Still Crazy' (near lane) vs Eric Eoff - 'Shazam!' (far lane) --- Dave Gallegos - 'Nitro Clown' (near lane) vs Robert Slaughter - 'Smokey the Bear (far lane)

Fred Farndon - 'Play it Loud' (near lane) vs Tod Barker - 'Back in Black' (far lane) --- Jeff Cameron - 'Magnolia Missile' (near lane) vs Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder' (far lane)

Round Two eliminations "A" field

Brandon Lewis - 'Attitude Adjuster' (near lane) vs Ken Poloson - 'Bucket List' (far lane) --- Brandon Lewis - 'Attitude Adjuster' (left side) vs Ken Poloson - 'Bucket List' (right side)

Nancy Matter - 'Guardian for Heroes' (near lane) vs Ken Singleton - 'High Risk' (far lane) --- Nancy Matter - 'Guardian for Heroes' (left side) vs Ken Singleton - 'High Risk' (right side)

Round Two eliminations "B" field

Eric Eoff - 'Shazam!' --- Eric Eoff - 'Shazam!' (left side) vs Dave Gallegos -

Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder' (near lane) vs Tod Barker - 'Back in Black' (far lane) --- Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder' (left side) vs Tod Barker - 'Back in Black' (right side)

Ray Kelley - 'Game XChange' Jet Dragster --- July 4th Fireworks

Final Round eliminations "B" field

Dave Gallegos - --- Dave Gallegos -

Final Round eliminations "A" field

Brandon Lewis - 'Attitude Adjuster' --- Brandon Lewis - 'Attitude Adjuster'

Ken Singleton - 'High Risk'

The latest update as of July 23, 2019

The 7th annual PRO MOD vs FUEL ALTERED SHOWDOWN at NorthStar Dragway

Pro Mod vs Fuel Altered Showdown

It only takes a single picture to tell a story, but this short bit of text takes four shots to tell the story of the final round at the 7th annual Pro Mod versus Fuel Altered Showdown at NorthStar Dragway. We'll have much more on the event (hopefully... hint, hint :-) but for now, these few pictures will have to suffice.


Here's two shots from different angles of the final round of Pro Mod vs Fuel Altered, with Kebin Kinsley in the nitro-burner versus Kevin Hargett in the turbocharged Pro Mod. The altered must have been running a serious load as the flames were wing-high on the launch.


The scoreboards (LEFT) tell the tale as the Pro Mod fell short of the Fuel Altered, despite running a career best 3.886 at 197.20 mph. In the winning lane, Kinsley drove it out the back door, setting low e.t. of the meet at 3.595, and breaking the track record with a booming 223.55 mph blast on the 1/8-th mile track. It's not hard to pick the winner (RIGHT) as Kinsley is all smiles, while Hargett tries his best to turn a grimace into a smile. And he doesn't quite get it done.

The latest update as of June 13, 2019

FUNNY CAR CHAOS at Amarillo Dragway

Funny Car Chaos Amarillo Dragway

Here's the eliminations (Day Two) of the Funny Car Chaos event at Amarillo Dragway (June 1). We'll get going on the captions later today and aim to have the whole report from Amarillo complete by tomorrow night.

















The latest update as of June 11, 2019

FUNNY CAR CHAOS at Amarillo Dragway

Funny Car Chaos Amarillo Dragway

No time to put any captions to these pics from day one (Friday, May 31) of the latest FUNNY CAR CHAOS at storied Amarillo Dragway. More details over the next few days, along with Saturday's elimination shots and story. Stay tuned!















The latest update as of May 27, 2019

What's New & and What's Next

It's been very quiet here for the past two weeks, even though there's a heap of projects piling up on the desk, starting with the captions and report from the second FUNNY CAR CHAOS event of the season from Mo-Kan Dragway. This week that job will be done so we can move on to the next item on the to-do list. Keep checking back to see our progress.

The latest update as of May 11, 2019

FUNNY CAR CHAOS at Mo-Kan Dragway (Asbury, MO)

Funny Car Chaos Mo-Kan Dragway

Ronald Ooms - 'Streakers Ride' - #3198 --- Nick Johnson - 'Prairie Fire' - #416

Monte Grace - 'Man O' War' - #337 AA/FC --- Matt Nissen - 'Runnin' Down A Dream' - #5557

Dan Butherus - 'Rat-A-Tude' - #547 BB/FC --- Ronny Young - 'Blue Max' - #482 AA/FC

Nick Poloson - 'Bucket List' - #429 AA/FC --- Nancy Matter - 'The Guardian' - #471 AA/FC

Alan Middendorf - 'American Outlaw - #3404 AAA/FC --- (near lane) Clay Cunningham - 'Still Crazy' #4764 (far lane) Jeff Cameron - 'Magnolia Missile' #421

C. Schnieder - 'Brutus' - #130 --- (near lane) Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder' - #4125 - (far lane) Matt Nissen - 'Runnin' Down A Dream' - #5557

(near lane) Ronald Ooms - 'Streakers Ride' - #3198 - (far lane) Nick Johnson - 'Prairie Fire' - #416 --- (near lane) Alan Middendorf - 'American Outlaw - #3404 AAA/FC - (far lane) Dan Butherus - 'Rat-A-Tude' - #547 BB/FC















The latest update as of May 8, 2019

FUNNY CAR CHAOS at Mo-Kan Dragway (Asbury, MO)

Funny Car Chaos Mo-Kan Dragway


Action on Friday night was hot and heavy under the lights, with some big nitro flames lighting up the sky.


A BIG OOPS here, as Ronald Ooms in his "Streakers Ride" gets waaaaay out of shape at the start of his burnout and plows into the starter's box armco guardrail before he got to the starting line. Not a great way to end his weekend.

The latest update as of April 22, 2019

OUTLAW FUEL ALTERED racing from North Star Dragway (Denton, TX)

Outlaw Fuel Altered Association logo North Star Dragway flyer Outlaw Fuel Altered Association logo


Unidentified team preparing their car in the pits --- Clint Cross 'Crossways' AA/FA

(LEFT) A new, but unidentified, team hard at work in the pits preparing their car. Unforunately, they never made it to the starting line and we don't have any data on them. (RIGHT) After a solid burnout, the Meyer & Cross - "Crossways" car, driven by Clint Cross, suffered a terminal failure before backing up and didn't appear for either elimination round.

Bobby Marriott climbing into his 'Shockwave' AA/FA --- Outlaw Fuel Altered teams gathering behind the starting line

(LEFT) Seen climbing into his car prior to the first time trial round is Bobby Marriott, preparing for a very special pass. (RIGHT) Before Marriott went down the track, all the Outlaw Fuel Altered teams gathered behind the starting line to acknowledge and commemorate the passing of Paul Caster. (See more about that below).

Bobby Marriott - 'Shockwave' - AA/FA --- Bobby Marriott - 'Shockwave' - AA/FA

(LEFT) Long-time (20+ years) competitor in Outlaw Fuel Altered racing, including five season championships, Bobby Marriott launches hard in the "Shockwave" car.

(RIGHT) With low e.t. and top speed of the first time trial round displayed on the scoreboards, Marriott puts out the laundry, and sends the finish line cones flying. What appears to be smoke trailing the car is actually the ashes of veteran racing photographer Paul Caster, who passed away late last year, in a fitting tribute to his long career in the sport.

Roger Lechtenberg - 'Nitro Madness' - AA/FA --- Mark Hunter - 'Jailbreak' - AA/FA

(LEFT) Coming back to the Outlaw Fuel Altereds after a year on the sidelines, "Radar" Roger Lechtenberg wheeled the "NItro Madness" car to a solid 4.288 at 183.87 in the first round of time trials. (RIGHT) Not faring so well was the "Jailbreak", driven by Mark Hunter to an early shutoff 4.596 - 128.57 in his only pass of the evening.

Aaron Morrow - 'Nitro Relapse' - AA/FA --- John Broussard - 'Purple Haze' - AA/FA

(LEFT) Another so-so result came up on the boards for Aaron Morrow in the "Nitro Relapse", as he stopped the clocks at 4.489 and only 119.84 mph. (RIGHT) John Broussard had an even worse result as he posted only a 5.015 - 91.22 in the flamed "Purple Haze" entry.

Larry Bradford - 'American Dream' - AA/FA --- Jimmy Jones - 'Texas Tremor' - AA/FA

(LEFT) The parade of 4-second (and slower) passes continued as Larry Bradford pushed his "American Dream" to a 4.699 - 158.17 time. (RIGHT) Getting closer to the numbers that would be required later, Jimmy Jones in the Lone Star-themed "Texas Tremor" came up just short of the 3's with a 4.082 - 170.52 to show what he had.

Donny McSwain - 'Wild One' - AA/FA --- Mark Billington - 'Magic Dragon' - AA/FA

(LEFT) Donny McSwain wasted a good run by the "Wild One", leaving before the tree was activated. (RIGHT) Jumping from a Top Alcohol Funny Car to a Nostalgia Nitro Funny Car, and into the "Magic Dragon" AA/FA, Mark Billington came up short of the mark with a 4.401 - 111.83 in his opening effort of the evening.

Jody Austin - 'Bushwhacker' - AA/FA --- Rodger Eckhardt - 'Bad Attitude' - AA/FA

Closing out the first time trial session were (LEFT) Jody Austin in the "Bushwhacker" who stopped the clocks at 4.113 at a very early shutoff 127.84. (RIGHT) The "Bad Attitude" Fiat Toppolino of Rodger Eckhardt kept the throttle open until the finish line but a 4.474 - 161.58 wasn't a serious threat to reach the final of the Chicago-style show.


Mary Reep - 'Grim Reeper' - AA/FA --- Bobby Marriott - 'Shockwave' - AA/FA

With the sun setting, the AA/FA's were ready to turn up the wick with the cooler evening air and stickier track to help them get down the North Star 1/8-th mile. After the majority of passes in the first session were singles, the fans were happy to see the lanes full of pairings for this final time trial session.

(LEFT) Leading off with an improvement over her earlier 4.159 - 156.87 was Mary Reep in the sharp looking "Grim Reeper" with a solid 4.065 - 161.00. (RIGHT) Her opponent Bobby Marriott in the "Shockwave" (quickest and fastest in the first t.t. round) bogged out of the gate to a 4.294 - 193.05 clocking.

Roger Lechtenberg - 'Nitro Madness' - AA/FA --- Jimmy Jones - 'Texas Tremor' - AA/FA

(LEFT) Picking up the pace and driving it out the back door was Roger Lechtenberg in the "Nitro Madness" as he picked up a tenth to a 4.163 - 190.60 but it paled in comparison to (RIGHT) the quickest pass of the round as Jimmy Jones booted the "Texas Tremor" to an excellent 3.940 - 182.48 which stood up for the quickest of the round.

Aaron Morrow - 'Nitro Relapse' - AA/FA --- Mark Billington - 'Magic Dragon' - AA/FA

(LEFT) Almost as quick, but coupled with an early chute was Aaron Morrow's 3.945 - 157.18 in the "Nitro Relapse", as he put up the second best e.t. of the round. (RIGHT) Back for another shot at the track was Mark Billington in the "Magic Dragon", but he fell short agsain at 4.257 - 120.81 to put him up against it heading into the all-important first round of eliminations.

Tim Cruce - 'Cruce Missile' - AA/FA --- Tim Cruce - 'Cruce Missile' - AA/FA

(LEFT) abd (RIGHT) Making his only attempt of the event was Tim Cruce in the "Cruce Missile" and he came up well short of making an impact on the field, carding only a 6.353 - 117.55.


Larry Bradford - 'American Dream' - AA/FA --- Mary Reep 'Grim Reeper' - AA/FA (near lane) - John Broussard - 'Purple Haze' - AA/FA (far lane)

(LEFT) Leading off "eliminations" with a bye run in the nine car field was the "American Dream" of Larry Bradford, and he rang up a mediocre 7.3643 - 93.59 to assure himself of a spot on the trailer for the final round.

(RIGHT) The first pair of the round saw a very close race, if you discount Mary Reep's redlight in her "Grim Reeper" (near lane). As you can see from the inset scoreboard shots, her very good3.947 - 188.21 was close to the winning numbers of 3.916 - 188.21 for the automatic winner (and defending series champion) John Broussard in his "Purple Haze" entry (far lane).

Jimmy Jones - 'Texas Tremor' - AA/FA (near lane) - Bobby Marriott - 'Shockwave' - AA/FA (far lane) --- Mark Billington - 'Magic Dragon - AA/FA (near lane) - Aaron Morrow - 'Nitro Relapse' - AA/FA (far lane)

(LEFT) Nearly matching the closeness of the first pairing, but surpassing the best clocking, were Jimmy Jones in the "Texas Tremor" (near lane) who clocked in at 3.963 - 185.41, but fell short of Bobby Marriott's excellent 3.892 - 190.84 in the "Shockwave" (far lane).

(RIGHT) Finally getting all the performance out of the "Magic Dragon" was Mark Billington (near lane) but he went too far "over-center" with a big break-out (3.80 index) at 3.669 - 194.05 to forfeit his chance to race in the final. (LEFT) Simply flirting with, but not going under the mark, was Aaron Morrow in the "Nitro Relapse" (far lane) at the quickest legal pass of the round at 3.864 - 191.00 to stake his claim for a spot in the final.

Roger Lechtenberg - 'Nitro Madness' - AA/FA (near lane) - Jody Austin - 'Bushwhacker' - AA/FA (far lane)

The final pair of the round featured Roger Lechtenberg in the "Nitro Madness" (near lane), falling short of the 3-second zone with a 4.180 - 185.95, but he still crossed the finish line well ahead of the badly trailing "Bushwhacker" of Jody Austin (far lane) who limped across at 13.465 - 33.71.


Bobby Marriott - 'Shockwave' - AA/FA (near lane) - Aaron Morrow - 'Nitro Relapse' - AA/FA (far lane)

After some great performances in the elimination round, the final round lived up to it's top billing as both cars ran well into the 3.80's, with Bobby Marriott in the "Shockwave" (near lane) taking the close-fought victory at 3.854 - 188.60 over a ver good effort by Aaron Morrow in the "Nitro Relapse" (far lane) at 3.886 - 186.10. The cars left almost as one as Marriott's .089 light barely edged out Morrow's .099 launch.

Elvis Poster --- Elvis on stage at North Star Dragway

What would a drag race in Texas be without at least one Elvis impersonator to entertain the crowd? My first experience of this phenomenom occurred back inb 2014 when a parade of "Elvi" (multiple Elvis's) - in full costume - rode past the grandstands on mini bikes. There must have been more than a dozen of them and they put on quite a show. There just must be something about Elvis and Texas....

The latest update as of April 18, 2019

UNFC Schedule & Points Standings after Tuscon event

Here's the schedule for the 2019 season - at least as far as it goes so far - and the (totally unofficial) points standings after the first of five events. The last time we checked the official UNFC website (five minutes ago) there had been no updats since Bill Doner's resignation announcement last November. Even their Facebook page has not posted anything on the points yet. Stay tuned for updates though.

United Nitro Funny Cars - 2019 Schedule ---  United Nitro Funny Cars - 
2019 Points Standings (after 1 of 5 events)

The latest update as of April 16, 2019

UNFC Season Opener at Tucson Dragway (Tucson, AZ)

United Nitro Funny Cars - Tucson Dragway

After a brutally cold Friday evening that saw very few cars get down the track with anything approaching a competitive pass, Saturday dawned bright and warm (at least until the sun went down at the desert facility). Two qualifying sessions for the nitro funny cars went off at noon and 3pm, then the first round of eliminations commenced at 6:00pm, just before sunset.

two versions of the 'Speed Sport' roadster as seen in the Tucson pits --- TR-4 - TR-6

A bit of old and new: (LEFT) Two replicas of the (in)famous "Ol Noisy", the rear-engined Speed Sport roadster that featured a nitro-burning early hemi for power, starting in the late 50's. They were renowned for having the loudest car around for quite a while, a by-product of 100% nitro (they would have run more if they could have figured out how to repeal a few basic laws of physics and chemistry), and long "weed-burner" headers.

(RIGHT) Back to the 21st century and we've got some sort of sports car (looks like a Triumph TR-4) running BIG tires and a big cowl-induction scoop. No word on times and speeds, but it looks plenty quick and fast.

United Nitro Funny Car Eliminations - Round One

James Day - 'Speed Sport' - AA/FC --- (left) Billy Morris - 'Problem Child' - AA/FC (right) James Day - 'Speed Sport' - AA/FC

(LEFT) Speaking of "Speed Sport", car-owner Jim Broome needed a replacement for the recently confettied "Candies & Hughes" tribute 'Cuda body that met an untimely end at the March Meet, and he came up with this '79 Omni that looks pretty sharp with the Speed Sport name, and nothing else, adorning its flanks as it burns out prior to its first round matchup.

(RIGHT) The lights are green and both cars are launching, with Billy Morris in the "Problem Child" Camaro on the left side, and James Day, subbing for an otherwise engaged Jim Maroney (racing Top Fuel at Houston), in the "Speed Sport" Omni on the right side. Morris took the first round win with a very good 5.913 - 234.04 over a gallant effort by Day, who stopped the timers at 6.146 - 224.55 for the loss.

Ryan Hodgson - 'Pacemaker' - AA/FC --- Ryan Hodgson - 'Pacemaker' - AA/FC

Two shots of the "Pacemaker" Camaro, owned by Ron Hodgson, driven by Ryan Hodgson, and tuned by a fellow Edmontonian, Bob Papirnick. After qualifying on top of the field with a very strong 5.776 - 248.66, he earned the first round bye in the odd-lot seven car field. Hodgson made the most of it, clocking a very good 5.815 at Top Speed of the Meet 251.67

Bobby Cottrell - 'Bardahl Special - AA/FC --- (left) Bobby Cottrell - 'Bardahl Special' - AA/FC - (right) Danny Gerber - 'Wasn't Easy' - AA/FC

(LEFT) A big burnout in the "Bardahl Special" (aka Northwest Hitter) Camaro for defending UNFC series champion Bobby Cottrell preceded his first round pairing (RIGHT) against series newcomer Danny Gerber (tower lane) in the aptly-named "Wasn't Easy". And Cottrell certainly didn't make it easy on Gerber, pounding out a 5.858 - 244.16 to obliterate the early shutoff 6.610 - 147.83 time of Gerber.

Tim Boychuk - 'Happy Hour' - AA/FC --- (left) Tim Boychuk - 'Happy Hour' - AA/FC - Geoff Monise - 'Quarter Pounder' - AA/FC

Closing out the first round was (LEFT) Tim Boychuk in his hard-running "Happy Hour", as he burned out before facing long-time competitors Dale Van Gundy & Keith Clark.

(RIGHT) In that race, Geoff Monise (tower lane) driving the Van Gundy & Clark "Quarter Pounder" Monza (yay - it's not another Camaro!) lost on a holeshot by a razor-thin margin, with Boychuk turning on the winlight with a slower 6.054 - 225.75 to the quicker, but losing 6.052 - 229.51 of first round runner-up Monise.

Western Fuel Altereds Eliminations - Round One

(left) Sheldon Lofgreen - 'Arizona Thunder' - AA/FA - (right) Ed Middlebrook - --- (left) Greg Holman - 'Carbon Copy' - AA/FA - (right) Robert Winefski - 'Coyote Express' - AA/FA

(LEFT) Out of the left side is the very unique twin-turbo Hemi "Arizona Thunder" entry of Sheldon Lofgreen, while on the right side is veteran Ed Middlebrook in his flamin' Fiat called "The Myth"

(RIGHT) Coming off the line on the left side is Greg Holman in the "Carbon Copy" while on the right side is the "Coyote Express" of Robert Winefski

Rich Nasby - 'Full Metal Jacket' - AA/FA --- Mitch Bowen - 'Rust Bucket' - AA/FA

(LEFT) It's the "Full Metal Jacket" of Rich Nasby, while on the (RIGHT) the "Rust Bucket" of MItch Bowen launches into the desert night

United Nitro Funny Car Eliminations - Semi-Final

Ryan Hodgson - 'Pacemaker' - AA/FC --- (near lane) Billy Morris - 'Problem Child' - AA/FC (far lane) Bobby Cottrell - 'Bardahl Special' - AA/FC

(LEFT) Already beginning to smoke the tires on the launch is the automatic winner in the UNFC semi-final, as Ryan Hodgson ran unopposed in the "Pacemaker" Camaro. His scheduled opponent, Tim Boychuk, certainly wasn't having a "Happy Hour" as his car sat in the pits with it's second wounded motor (blackened crankshaft) in two days (check out the "blowed up real good" photo in Saturday's report below)

The other semi-final featured a side-by-side (at least for a few hundred feet) battle between (near lane) Billy Morris in the "Problem Child" Camaro who faded to a losing 6.616 - 155.10, while (far lane) Bobby Cottrell cruised into another final round in the "Bardahl Special" of Bucky Austin with an early shutoff 5.952 - 223.99 clocking.

Western Fuel Altereds Eliminations - Semi-Final

(near lane) Mitch Bowen - 'Rust Bucket' - AA/FA (far lane) Sheldon Lofgreen - --- (near lane) Greg Holman - 'Carbon Copy' - AA/FA (far lane) 'The Redeemer' - AA/FA

(LEFT) Taking the win with a major holeshot, the "Arizona Thunder" (far lane) of Sheldon Lofgreen with a 6.975 - 177.91, over the much-quicker, but late, 6.862 - 196.92 of the "Rust Bucket" of Mitch Bowen in the near lane.

(RIGHT) In the near lane, it's Greg Holman in the "Carbon Copy" turning a 7.029 - 170.69 to take the winlight over the losing (far lane) 7.099 - 187.70 of "The Redeemer". That put Holman into the final against Lofgreen.

Unfortunately this is where the "film" ran out as our photographers (Bob & Ginger Snyder) decided to hit the long, dark, cold road for home while they still had some feeling in their hands and feet. Thankfully, through the miracle of the internet, we've got the numbers for the two final rounds.

In Funny Car, it was Edmonton's Ryan Hodgson taking the win with a solid 5.952 - 223.99 over an early shutoff effort from Bobby Cottrell who coasted across the line at 6.380 - 172.87. In the Fuel Altered final, they really went for the "full meal deal" as a slip-sliding, tire smoking, get-to-the-finish-line-at-all-costs finale, saw Greg Holman take the winlight at 7.179 - 162.16 over a valiant, but decidedly second-best 8.871 - 144.12 effort of Sheldon Lofgreen.

And that's a wrap for the first (of five) event(s) on the United Nitro Funny Cars association calendar for 2019. Next up is the Nitro Spring Nationals Invitational at Spokane County Raceway on June 21-22. It should be a good one, with much warmer weather, more cars, and a larger crowd. Be there!

The latest update as of April 14, 2019

UNFC Season Opener at Tucson Dragway (Tucson, AZ)

United Nitro Funny Cars - Tucson Dragway

Geoff Monise - 'Quarter Pounder' - AA/FC --- Billy Morris - 'Problem Child' - AA/FC

(LEFT) It's the Van Gundy & Clark Monza running the "Quarter Pounder" name, driven by Geoff Monise (RIGHT) In the other lane is second-year nitro funny racer Billy Morris in his "Problem Child" Camaro.

Geoff Monise vs Billy Morris

Bobby Cottrell - 'Bardhal Special' - AA/FC --- Danny Gerber - 'Wasn't Easy' - AA/FC



The latest update as of April 6, 2019

NHRA Denso Spark Plugs 4-Wide Nationals (Las Vegas, NV)

NHRA Denso Spark Plugs 4-Wide Nationals


Race number four of the 24 event NHRA season is well underway at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. As this update is being written, the Top Alcohol cars are running their final qualifying session, before starting eliminations later this afternoon. Leading the way going into this session on the dragster side are two Northwest racers, Kim Parker, number one at 5.211 275.00, closely followed by Shawn Cowie at 5.259 - 274.00. A very interesting observation is that three of the top four cars are running blown on alcohol, in sharp contrast to the apparent domination of the A/Fuel combination as commonly seen these days. In fact, six of the 16 cars in the field are blown alky, which is becoming a rare circumstance on the national circuit.

The only serious change in the qualifying order for the dragsters saw Garrett Bateman jumping past the blown cars of Severance and Demke to take over the #3 spot, behind Parker and Cowie. Of note is that neither of the top two qualifiers improved, nor did Demke or Severance. A few improvements in the bottom half of the field saw Red Deer, Alberta's Mike Quayle break into the 5-second zone with a 5.65, but that timeslip saw him drop from #13 to #15 on the final list. And Greg Hunter finally got a time on the board, clocking a solid 5.48 -263.26 to slot in one spot above Quayle.

Comebacking - after 15 years away from the sport - is Oregon's MItch Myers and he's working hard to shake off all that rust. The final qualifier saw him put down a representative run of 5.480 at 265.43 mph to move up to the #12 spot in the final order. That earns him a date with fellow Oregonian Joey Severance in the first round of eliminations this afternoon. Looks like the Larry Miersch-led team will have some work to do to get Myers' car running well enough to overcome the current world champion.

The latest update as of March 31, 2019

2019 Season opener of FUNNY CAR CHAOS at North Star Dragway (Denton, TX)

Funny Car Chaos 2019 Season Opener

Here's the shots from Saturday evening's eliminations, starting with round one of the A field (top 8 qualifiers).


(LEFT) In the near lane it's Mark Billington" in his blown alky "Sons of Thunder" against (far lane) Ken Singleton in the "High Risk" car. Singleton took the winlight

(RIGHT) Quickly laying waste to a "legend" (at least the car is) was Nick Poloson in the "Bucket List" (near lane) as he put down a career-best 3.79 to easily cover the "Blue Max" tribute car of Ronny Young which trailed with a solid, but losing, 4.12 time


(LEFT) Suffering the ignominy of the dreaded pushback by the crew, the broken "Motivation" Mustang of newcomer to the series, Chuck Loftin was unable to offer any competition to his first round opponent Kebin Kinsley. The "Motivation" moniker and paint scheme is a tribute to a true Texas Funny Car legend, Billy Meyer

(RIGHT) Here's the scene as (near lane) Kebin Kinsley in the Farris brothers "War Wagon" late-model Mustang leaves the line enroute to a less than perfect 6.26 pass


(LEFT) Taking a slight lead at the green, Nancy Matter (near lane) in the "Guardian for Heroes", was quickly dispatched by the very powerful "American Outlaw" (far lane) of Allen Middendorf by a 5.17 to 6.58 verdict to close out the first round of the A field

(RIGHT) Starting to smoke the tires right off the line - and tossing the burst panel in the hood - Brandon Lewis (near lane) didn't get too far under power in his "Attitude Adjuster" Camaro, shutting off shortly after this picture was taken, allowing Clay Cunningham (far lane) to take the match with a so-so 5.15 clocking in his "Still Crazy" entry. Of note is that Lewis's car is an ex-John Hale ride, still being tuned by Guy Tipton

--- ---

Here's a closer look at Lewis's predicament in a three-shot sequence. Click on the individual frames to see a larger format version


(LEFT)(near lane) Jim Gifford driving Bill Dee's "Nor'Easter" out of New England, laid down the only 3-second pass of the first round, a 3.98 to easily cover the slowing 6.04 effort of Jeff Cameron in the Texas-based "Magnolia Missile"






The latest update as of March 30, 2019

2019 Season opener of FUNNY CAR CHAOS at North Star Dragway (Denton, TX)

Funny Car Chaos 2019 Season Opener


Clay Cunningham - 'Still Crazy' --- Clay Cunningham - 'Still Crazy'



Allen Middendorf - 'American Outlaw' ---

(LEFT) No, it's not a big-show car.... well, maybe as Allen Middendorf blasts off the starting line in his Jake Sanders tuned "Amercan Outlaw". This run reset the association e.t. record in a BIG way, moving it down from Mark Sanders' 3.67 to a new high-water mark of 3.59 at an early shutoff 195 mph.







The latest update as of March 29, 2019

2019 Season opener of FUNNY CAR CHAOS at North Star Dragway (Denton, TX)

Funny Car Chaos 2019 Season Opener

The first qualifying session for the FUNNY CAR CHAOS season opener at North Star Dragway should be in the books by now, but we'll have to wait until tomorrow to see the photos and story that goes with that round. Until then, through the miracle of 21st century technology, we've got a handful of pit shots taken earlier today. Bob Snyder whipped out his phone, snapped a few shots, text-messaged them to Northern Thunder, and after a bit of photoshopping, here they are on the 'net. Please note that the images are not "thumbnails" and can't be clicked to show a larger version. The good stuff will come tomorrow.


(LEFT) A three-time winner last year, Ken Singleton in his Oklahoma-based "High Risk" car is sure to be in the thick of it this weekend, despite the appearance of quite a few nitro-burning cars.

(RIGHT) It sure looks like a "big-show" flopper, and that's exactly what it was, as the "War Wagon" is an ex-Bob Tasca III Mustang. Now owned by Howard & Shane Farris, the car will be driven by current NHRA Top Fuel racer (and jack of all trades) Kebin Kinsley. BONUS: Kinsley will also be testing the Hennen Motorsports Top Fuel dragster this weekend.


(LEFT) Back for another season is the Corvette-bodied "Shazam" Funny Car of Texan Eric Eof. (RIGHT) We don't know who's powerplant this is, but the dual mags, dual fuel pumps, and big blower indicate that it's not your average Nostalgia engine.

Now in his second season competing in Funny Car Chaos, is big-show Top Alcohol racer Mark Billington in his "Sons of Thunder" entry.

The latest update as of March 12, 2019

Final Eliminations (continued) at the 2019 Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet (Bakersfield, CA)

Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet 2019 poster

Round Two of eliminations for the Nitro Nostalgia Funny Cars

AA/FC - Kris Krabill (far lane) - Matt Melendez (near lane) --- AA/FC - Jeff Arend (far lane) - Jerry Espeseth (near lane)

(LEFT) If you discount the reaction times, this was the closest race of the day, with Kris Krabill (far lane) cranking out a stellar 5.676 - 248.80, to hold off a slightly quicker 5.670 - 246.93 by (near lane) Matt Melendez. The r.t.'s told the tale however, as Krabill's .048 leave easily took the measure of Melendez's slightly tardy .157 time.

(RIGHT) Another pair and another holeshot win, as Jeff Arend (far lane) carded a slightly quicker and faster 5.723 - 255.10 but it wasn't enough to hold off rookie Jerry Espeseth's (near lane) slightly better leaving (.112 to .127) 5.734 - 252.71 timeslip. It's interesting to see former driver Jason Rupert beside the "Littlefield & Rupert" car as Espeseth pulled into the stage beams, and the other half of the team, crew chief Brad Littlefield directing him from in front of the car. Their tutelage obviously worked!

AA/FC - Billy Morris (far lane) - Dan Horan (near lane) --- AA/FC - Bobby Cottrell

(LEFT) After two very close races, the string was snapped when Billy Morris (far lane) left first, by a .099 to .177 margin, but finished second as he ran into problems at half track and clocked in at 6.572 - 158.74. His opponent, low qualifier Dan Horan (near lane) was a little late at the green, but poured on the horses to put a very strong 5.694 on the boards, coupled with an excellent 262.18 mph speed, just a little slower than the 265.52 he recorded during qualifying.

(RIGHT) With just one car in the picture, it's easy to figure who won this race, as Bobby Cottrell had the luxury of a bye run into the semi-finals after scheduled opponent Steven Densham destroyed his Camaro body in a first-round finish line explosion. Cottrell left hard on his single, but cut the power at the 1000 ft mark and coasted across the line at 5.887 - 201.82 for the win.

Round One of eliminations for Nostalgia Top Fuel

AA/FD - Rick White (near lane) - Phil Ruskowski (broken) --- AA/FD - Brendan Murray (far lane) - Bret Williamson (near lane)

(LEFT) It's another one-car show, but Rick White's scheduled opponent, Phil Ruskowski did get to the line, then banged the blower on the burnout and that was the end of his March Meet. Low qualifier White left hard but packed it in early and was off the throttle just past half track, lighting up the scoreboards with a 6.093 at only 175.09 mph.

(RIGHT) The #2 qualifier, Bret Williamson (near lane), slowed slightly from his qualifying numbers, but a 5.803 - 240.04 was more than enough to handle Brendan Murray's early shutoff 6.663 - 145.36 in his underdog big-block Chevy powered machine.

AA/FD - Mendy Fry (far lane) - Jim Murphy (near lane) --- AA/FD - Rick McGee (far lane) - Adam Sorokin (near lane)

(LEFT) Defending Heritage Series champion Mendy Fry (far lane) dropped a bomb on the "WW2" entry of former champion Jim Murphy as her 5.518 - 265.43 obliterated Murphy's decent, but seriously outgunned 5.801 - 231.12 pass.

(RIGHT) The final pairing in the opening round featured Adam Sorokin (near lane) in the unique small-block Chevy powered "Champion Speed Shop Special" against the Rick McGee-driven "Overtime Special" (far lane). It wasn't a close race as Sorokin laid down a decent 5.981 - 201.42 to easily handle McGee's hurting 6.754 - 140.59 losing effort.

Round One of eliminations for AA/Fuel Altered

AA/FA - Jim Holtz (far lane) - Tom Padilla (near lane) --- AA/FA - James Day (far lane) - Mark Whynaught (near lane)



AA/FA - James Generalao Jr (far lane) - Tony Whitfield (near lane) --- AA/FA - Ron Capps (far lane) - Dan Hix (near lane)



Round One of eliminations for Classic (5.90 index) Funny Car

CFC - Jeff Utterback (far lane) - Dean Oberg (near lane) --- CFC - Rodney Flournoy (near lane) - Wes Morris (no show)



CFC - Dan Hix (near lane) - Shawn Van Horn (no show)

The latest update as of March 10, 2019

Final Eliminations (Day Four) at the 2019 Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet (Bakersfield, CA)

Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet 2019 poster

Here's the first round of eliminations for the Nostalgia Funny Cars, run in the late afternoon on Saturday. The #16 qualifier, Jim Maroney was unable to make the call with a destroyed body, and the first alternate (Cory Lee) was also "indisposed" so Bill Windham slotted in from the #18 position.

AA/FC - Dan Horan --- AA/FC - Kris Krabill (L) - Marc Meadors (R)

(LEFT) Filling in for the broken Jim Maroney, Bill Windham was so late in his first round match against Dan Horan that he wasn't even in the picture. That's what a .750 light will do. Horan didn't have a trouble-free run as his 6.067 - 243.02 was far off his low qualifying 5.665 effort. Windham wasn't much slower on e.t. at 6.095 but was waaaay behind at the stripe.

(RIGHT) The second pair of the first round saw a closer race as both racers ran into the 5's, with Kris Krabill (left side) taking the win at 5.793 - 252.14 over the late-leaving and slower Marc Meadors (right side) at 5.941 - 243.86.

AA/FC - Tim Boychuk (L) - Bobby Cottrell (R) --- AA/FC - Ryan Hodgson (L) - Jerry Espeseth (R)

(LEFT) Coming into this match with a sizeable performance advantage, Bobby Cottrell (right side) picked up the pace for the Austin & O'Brien car, blasting out a 5.642, coupled with a big speed at 257.24 to take the win over Tim Boychuk (left side), who laid down a solid 5.862 at a slowing 218.41 mph in the loss.

(RIGHT) The lone Canadian competitor in the field this year (as Boychuk is now an Arizona resident), and 2017 Heritage Series Champion, Ryan Hodgson came into the first round with a performance advantage over the rookie driver in the "Littlefield & Rupert" car, but left late and was out e.t.'d by Jerry Espeseth by a 5.747 - 237.17 to 5.774 - 253.66 margin. Hodgson was .078 behind on the leave, and even his big top-end charge failed to close the gap.

AA/FC - Steven Densham (L) - Rian Konno (R) --- AA/FC - Billy Morris

(LEFT) Two closely matched competitors faced off in the next pair, in a mild upset, Steven Densham (left side) left on Rian Konno (right side) by half a tenth, then held off Konno's quicker and faster 5.810 - 247.93 with a just-good-enough 5.813 at a seriously slowing 213.94 speed. Unfortunately, that's where the good news stopped for Densham as a massive explosion just before the finish line blew the body off the car and prevented the team from making the second round call.

(RIGHT) This is another one-car shot, as Billy Morris (pictured) in the "Problem Child" had a troubled and early shutoff run of 17.843 - 46.10 that was more than good enough to take the winlight over a seriously red-lighting Tony Jurado - a -.318 light. The scoreboards showed that he ran a low e.t. of the world 5.532 - 229.51 but the numbers must be bogus, probably caused by the staging lights staying on as he launched.

AA/FC - Geoff Monise (L) - Matt Melendez (R) --- AA/FC - Brad Thompson (L) - Jeff Arend (R)

(LEFT) The second to last pair of the opening round featured something almost unique in Nostalgia flopper racing: a pair of non-Camaros. In the decidedly old-school appearing Monza (left side) was Geoff Monise in the "Van Gundy & Clark" car, against relative newcomer Matt Melendez (right side) who took the win with a very strong 5.691 - 242.32 over Monise's quicker leaving (.114 to .144) but slower arriving 5.983 - 240.21 effort.

(RIGHT) To close out the opening round of eliminations, Jeff Arend (right side) pushed the beautiful "California Hustler" to a 5.808 - 252.61 to cover the "Jailbreak" car of Brad Thompson as he trailed at 5.913. Thompson left with Arend and stayed close until the 1000 ft. mark, then ran out of steam and slowed to 204.51 mph for the loss.

The latest update as of March 9, 2019

Nitro Qualifying (Day Three) at the 2019 Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet (Bakersfield, CA)

Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet 2019 poster

It's Top Qualifier time from Friday at the 61st annual Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet. We've snagged some great shots of the leaders after the first day of qualifying at Bakersfield. The weather is getting better but some of the performances have dropped off a little. Note that we said "some" as you'll see below that Dan Horan obliterated the Nitro Nostalgia Funny Car speed record with an unreal 265.22 mph blast on his second qualifying attempt to lead the field in e.t. (with a 5.665) and speed. Read on for more qualifying news.

AA/FD - Bret Williamson - 'Forever Young' --- AA/FD - Rick White

(LEFT) After Friday's first qualifying session, Bret Williamson in the "Forever Young" entry sat atop the leaderboard with a solid 5.736 - 250.74 that led the field by more than a tenth. (RIGHT) The second, and final, session on Saturday saw Rick White in the "Neal & White" car leapfrog past Williamson with a slightly better 5.723 - 254.52 clocking to earn the top spot.

AA/FC - Dan Horan

After his awesome, record-setting (265.22 mph) pass during Friday's first session, Dan Horan stayed at the top of the list right through until the conclusion of qualifying. However, he wasn't far ahead of several of the real hitters in Nostalgia flopper racing, with defending series champion Bobby Cottrell in the (Bucky) Austin & O'Brien Camaro just a hundredth of a second behind (5.677) and Austin's former driver "Hollywood" Kris Krabill sandwiching the #1 & #3 drivers with a 5.676 timeslip.

The gap between the top and bottom in the 16-car field was just a little over two tenths, with bubble holder Jim "Boom BOOM" Maroney holding down the bottom at 5.889. He won't be able to make the first round call on Sunday though, as that qualifying pass was punctuated with a massive blower explosion that disintegrated the body and put the "Candies & Hughes" tribute car on the trailer. None of the three alternates laid down a representative pass so who Horan faces in the opening round of eliminations is pure conjecture. Also of note is that there should have been four non-qualifiers, but Matt Bynum crashed the "Nitro Nick" car on his first test pass earlier in the week.

AA/FA - Tom Padilla - 'Red Dragon'

With 11 cars competing in the AA/Fuel Altered class, there was some real competition for the top spot in the field. The one wild card factor in the equation was the 6.00 index imposed on the cars in an attempt to equalize the competition and keep out big-show style hitters. On top of the ladder after Friday's single qualifier was Washington's Tom Padilla in his '27 Ford Model T "Red Dragon" with an almost too quick 6.009 - 236.67 pass. Showing that he wasn't afraid to drive it out the back door, Padilla kept the pedal down and came within a whisker of breaking out.

Saturday saw three more entries make qualifying attempts, and nearly everyone picked up the pace, with the 8-car qualified field ending up fairly tightly bunched between 6.00 and 6.25, with four 6-second alternates trailing before the last few cars dropped well back. Some of the regular qualifiers, such as Keith Wilson in the "Witch Doctor", Eric Gates and Rodney Flournoy with his "Godzilla" entry were unable to dial their cars in during the three qualifying sessions and have to wait until October to make their next serious runs at Bakersfield.

Classic FC - Rodney Flournoy - 'Crazy Horse'

Taking the early lead in a very short field, as in three cars, long-time nitro veteran Rodney Flournoy whipped his "Crazy Horse" '71 Mustang to a less than scintillating 9.477 pass to easily cover the even sadder efforts of Wes Morris and Dean Oberg. As you can see from his completely out-of-shape launch, there wasn't much chance of him clocking a competitive pass, but it was still good enough to top the charts.

Friday's short field doubled in size by the time qualifying closed on Saturday afternoon, and the performances stepped up considerably. The early leader, Rodney Flournoy, was displaced by Shawn Van Horn in the "Choo-Choo Mama" Pontiac Trans Am, as van Horn carded a decent 6.236 against the 5.90 index. The spread between the top and bottom was still more than ten seconds, but at least there were more cars for the fans to see during eliminations on Sunday.

The latest update as of March 8, 2019

Nitro Testing (Day Two) at the 2019 Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet (Bakersfield, CA)

Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet 2019 poster

The second day of the Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet went off under threatening skies that never did break into sun, or go the other way and turn into rain. The cool and cloudy conditions didn't hurt the performances, as some very quick passes were recorded by the Nostalgia Nitro Funny Cars, including a best of the day 5.63 - 242.58 carded by Kris Krabill. There were some rather interesting pairings seen coming out of the staging lanes, as funny cars lined up against dragsters, front-engined versus rear-engined dragsters, fuel altereds against funny cars and dragsters, and every combination of those different classes.

Here's a good selection of photos of the day's action with most of the details on the cars involved. Friday will see the first qualifying sessions for all classes, followed by final qualifying on Saturday, and some early elimination rounds. Then it all wraps up on Sunday with a full day of eliminations. We'll have our Southwest correspondent "Big" Bob Snyder on the starting line for the entire event and post all we can over the course of the weekend. Stay tuned for updates throughout each day.

AA/FC - Dan Horan --- AA/FC - Matt Bynum - 'Nitro Nick'

(LEFT) In a new look, Dan Horan rolls out in a freshly sponsored Camaro SS, while (RIGHT) the "Nitro Nick" tribute car literally rolled on the top end, as Matt Bynum lost the handle after heavy tire shake, bounced off the wall and rolled it in the lights. Lots of damage to the car, but fortunately, none to the driver

(LEFT) AA/FD - Pete Wittenberg - 'Circuit Breaker' (RIGHT) NFC - Billy Morris - 'Problem Child' --- Left - AA/FD - Jim Murphy - 'WW2' - Right - AA/FC - Jim Maroney - 'Candies & Hughes Cajun 'Cuda'

(LEFT) Running countrary to the schedule that said "no pairings of dragsters and funny cars", we've got Pete Wittenberg in the "Circuit Breaker" Top Fueler, lined up against "Rookie of The Year" (2018) Billy Morris in the "Problem Child" Camaro Funny Car. (RIGHT) Another pair of "rule breakers" in this pair, as on the left, it's Jim Murphy in the "WW2" (or is it WW3 by now?) and Jim Maroney in the Candies & Hughes "Cajun 'Cuda" nitro funny car

AA/FC - Jeff Arend - 'California Hustler' --- AA/FC - Rian Konno - 'Kazanjian, Lemon & Konno'

(LEFT) Looking to improve on a great 2018 season, veteran nitro pilot Jeff Arend launches hard in Don Nelson's "California Hustler" Pontiac Trans-Am flopper. (RIGHT) Steadily improving and moving up the performance charts is the Mustang funny of Rian Konno, a tribute car to "Kazanjian & Lemon" as he prepares to launch a serious challenge for the Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet crown

AA/FC - Matt Melendez - 'Cacklin' Critter' --- AA/FC - Dean Oberg - 'Holy Toledo'

(LEFT) Putting the first big number up on the scoreboard was Matt Melendez in the "Cacklin' Critter" Challenger, blasting out a 5.69 at "only" 242.58 mph.

(RIGHT) It's a real tribute to the very early days of Funny Car racing, when the word FUNNY really described many of the entries, and Dean Oberg's "Holy Toledo" Jeep truly fits the bill. He can't run with the "big dogs" in Nostalgia Funny Car, but fits nicely into the 5.90 Funny Car field

AA/FC - Kris Krabill - 'Nitro Pimpin' --- Left - AA/FC - Right - AA/FA

(LEFT) An even crazier set of numbers came up a little later, as "Hollywood" Kris Krabill lit up the boards with an awesome 5.63 pass, coupled with a seriously slowing 224.08 mph. That blast got everyone's attention! And in case the car looks just a little familiar, it's the former Will Martin car.

(RIGHT) It's the first of quite a few wacky duets as a Nitro Nostalgia Funny Car lines up against a AA/Fuel Altered

Left - AA/FC - Rick Rogers - 'Fighting Irish' Right - AA/FA - 'Mighty Mouse' --- Left - AA/FD - Mendy Fry - 'High Speed Motorsports' Right - Rear-Engine TF - Brad Thompson - 'Rain for Rent - Warren & Coburn'

(LEFT) Another odd-ball pairing, as on the left side it's Rick Rogers in the "Fighting Irish Camaro, lined up against what looks like a newcomer to the AA/Fuel Altered ranks: the "Mighty Mouse" entry out of Division Five with small-block Chevy power

(RIGHT) At least it's two dragsters in this match... even though they've got engines in different locations, as on the left it's defending NHRA Heritage Series champion Mendy Fry in the HIgh Speed Motorsports entry, challenged on the right by the "Warren & Coburn - Rain for Rent" tribute car, driven by local jack-of-all-trades Brad Thompson

Left rear-engine TF - Right - AA/FA - James Generalao Jr. - 'Impatient' --- AA/FC - Jerry Espeseth - 'Littlefield & Rupert - Rolling Thunder'

(LEFT) Why not match up a Rear-Engined Top Fuel dragster (the Brad Thompson-driven "Rain for Rent" car against the "Impatient" AA/Fuel Altered of James Generalao Jr.

(RIGHT) It's the very well-known and former Heritage Series Champion "Littlefield & Rupert" - Rolling Thunder car, but with a new driver this year, as former Nostalgia Eliminator racer Jerry Espeseth is wheeling the hard running Camaro flopper

AA/FC - Marc Meadors - 'Fuel Curve' --- Left - AA/FC - Right - AA/FA

(LEFT) It's Marc Meadors in the partially primered and unlettered "Fuel Curve" car. (RIGHT) A Funny Car versus Fuel Altered battle

AA/FA - Ron Capps - --- Left - AA/FA - 'Nitro Rat' - Right - AA/FA - Dan Hix - 'Meanstreak'

(LEFT) After a half-track test pass by James Day on Wednesday, "designated driver" Ron Capps jumped into the "Good News" Fiat AA/FA for what was probably his first pass ever in a fuel altered. (RIGHT) It's the "Nitro Rat" Fuel Altered on the left against the Dan Hix-driven "Meanstreak" Funny Car

AA/FC - Dan Hix - 'Meanstreak'

Graduating from the AA/Fuel Altered ranks, Dan Hix made an early pass in the Hix, Keigley & Mosby "Meanstreak". The car was formerly campaigned by Aussie Paul Shackleton under the banner of "Shack Attack"

The latest update as of March 7, 2019

Test 'n' Tune (Day One) at the 2019 Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet (Bakersfield, CA)

Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet 2019 poster

It's going to be FIVE very long days at Auto Club Famoso Raceway's annual Good Vibrations March Meet, but it kicked off with some low key test 'n tune passes which featured a variety of cars from nearly stock doorslammers to a few blown fuel Nostalgia Nitro Funny Cars.

PRO HR 455 Buick Grand Sport --- PRO #10972 - Buick GSS

Opening the test 'n tune action were a pair of wheelstanding Buick Grand Sport land yachts, and they didn't disappoint the classic muscle car fans with bumper-scraping launches and gyrating passes

NFC - Tim Boychuk - 'Happy Hour' --- NFC - Brad Thompson - 'Jailbreak'

(LEFT) One of the heavy hitters in nostalgia Funny Car racing, Canada's Tim Boychuk in his '69 Camaro "Happy Hour" entry knocked the rust off, while on the (RIGHT) California's Brad Thompson in the System 1-sponsored "Jailbreak" worked on getting dialled in before qualifying commences on Friday

 Ron Capps 'Good News' --- 7/E #7399 Mrs. Flattop 'Bad Moon'

(LEFT) It's your usual '48 Fiat Toppolino, but the driver isn't your regular nostalgia eliminator guy. Today's session saw Top Alcohol driver James Day behind the wheel, but starting tomorrow, it's Ron - yes, that Ron - Capps trying to control the "Good News" car. (RIGHT) The "Bad Moon" '32 Bantam roadster hails from Lake Havasu City, AZ and is driven by Steven Faller

NFC - Jim Maroney - 'Cajun' 'Cuda' --- The Ferris Wheel

(LEFT) It's part-time big show Top Fuel pilot Jim Maroney in the Candies & Hughes tribute "Cajun 'Cuda", making a test pass before the official nitro testing session on Thursday. (RIGHT) For a little diversion from the on-track action, our photographer snapped a shot of the Ferris Wheel behind the spectator side grandstands

The latest update as of February 25, 2019

The 35th annual Arizona Nationals - Sunday Eliminations (Phoenix, AZ)

As has been the standard since the beginning of time, TOP FUEL opened the show on Sunday morning at Wild Horse Motorsports Park. With the single, abbreviated qualifying session on Friday, and only two full rounds of qualifying on Saturday, many of the teams were still struggling to refine their tuneups before the all-important first round of eliminations.

Scott Palmer vs Mike Salinas TF --- Jordan Vandergriff vs Brittany Force TF

(LEFT) It's Scott Palmer (left side) vs Mike Salinas (right side) in the 1st round of Top Fuel. As you can see, Palmer is starting to smoke the tires as he passes the tree. He ended up crossing the centerline, taking out the 330' cones while Salinas had his engine go south and left him coasting to a 5-second pass for the round win.

(RIGHT) Making his competition debut in a Top Fuel car, Jordan Vandergriff (left side) leaves first against Brittany Force and drives away from her with a new career best of 3.69 at 33.41 for Top Speed of The Meet. Adding injury to insult, Force oiled the track for the second race in a row, taking an early lead in the "OilDown" standings.

Jim Maroney TF --- Doug Kaliita vs Jim Maroney TF

(LEFT) It's local racer Jim Maroney in deep against one of the big guns. (RIGHT) It's Doug Kalitta on the left side, launching hard enroute to a 3.74 - 322 mph pass against Maroney's early shutoff 6-second pass.

Antron Brown vs Steve Torrence TF --- Terry McMillen vs Richie Crampton TF

(LEFT) In what might be considered a bit of an upset, Antron Brown easily defeated the 2018 World Champion Steve Torrence, with a 3.728 - 330.63 clocking, to Torrence's 3.93 - 256.50 pass. However, with Torrence qualifying 14th and Brown in the #3 slot, the result wasn't entirely unexpected.

(RIGHT) The only upset factor in the next pair was Terry McMillen's (left side) career best qualifying position (#2) and e.t. and mph numbers at 3.695 - 330.96, giving him lane choice by a decided margin over Richie Crampton (right side), and it carried over into the first round as McMillen pounded out a very good 3.726 - 329.02 to run away from Crampton's early shutoff 4.06 - 215.79 losing effort.

Billy Torrence vs Terry Totten TF --- Austin Prock vs Clay Millican TF

(LEFT) No upsets in this pairing, as Billy Torrence (left) easily took care of Terry Totten (right) by a 3.736 - 329.42 to a "no time" result. Totten instantly smoked the tires and crossed the centerline to DQ his time. (RIGHT)

Leah Pritchett vs Cameron Ferre TF --- Tim Wilkerson vs Jack Beckman FC

John Force vs Ron Capps FC --- J.R. Todd vs Terry Haddock FC

Robert Hight FC --- Matt Hagan vs Phil Burkart FC

Tommy Johnson Jr vs Jim Campbell FC --- Blake Alexander FC

Cruz Pedregon FC

Ray Martin burnout TS --- Ray Martin launch TS

(LEFT) and (RIGHT) Here's two shots of Alaska's Ray Martin burning out and launching in his first round race. He qualified in the #6 spot in the Top Sportsman field with a solid 6.72 - 204.23 pass, but he slowed to a 6.84 (on his 6.75 dial-in) to bow out early in eliminations.

Kevin Boyer TFH

Billy Torrence TF --- Jordan Vandergriff TF

Leah Pritchett TF --- Antron Brown TF

Robert Hight vs John Force FC

Robert Hight FC --- Jack Beckman FC

Shawn Langdon FC --- Under the hood of the electric COPO Camaro

Beau Layne TFH --- Beau Layne TFH

Doug Vancil vs Bob Malloy TFH --- Doug Vancil vs Bob Malloy TFH

Leah Pritchett vs Antron Brown TF --- Leah Pritchett vs Antron Brown TF

Billy Torrence vs Jordan Vandergriff TF

Matt Hagan vs Bob Tasca III FC --- Robert Hight vs JR Todd FC

The latest update as of February 24, 2019

The 35th annual Arizona Nationals - Saturday Qualifying (Phoenix, AZ)

Alan Prusiensky PS --- Jeg Coughlin Jr. PS

Greg Anderson PS --- Rodger Brogdon PS

Val Smeland PS --- Matt Hartford PS

Erica Enders PS --- Bo Butner PS

Bo Butner PS --- Full Grandstands

Terry Totten TF --- Mike Salinas TF

Terry Haddock FC --- Jim Campbell FC

Ron Capps FC --- Phil Burkart FC

(LEFT) Comin' right at ya is Ron Capps as he gets out-of-shape on the burnout, but got things under control on the run, to the tune of a 3.95 - 315.49 timeslip. (RIGHT) The Robert Schwab flopper, driven by Phil Burkart launches into instant tire smoke, shutting off to an 11-second pass on this qualifying attempt. However, he still improved by nearly five seconds, but stayed outside the field in the #17 position.

Electric COPO Camaro burnout --- Electric COPO Camaro launch

(LEFT) & (RIGHT) The small inscription on the cowl induction hood says it all "800 VOLTS" as Hancock & Lane take a giant step into the future, with the all-electric COPO Camaro. The car made a number of runs during the event and racked up some pretty impressive times and speeds.

Kevin Boyer TFH --- Jim Maroney TF

Antron Brown TF --- Leah Pritchett TF

Jordan Vandergriff TF --- Jack Beckman FC

The latest update as of February 23, 2019

The 35th annual Arizona Nationals - Friday Qualifying (Phoenix, AZ)

Starting Line at 8:30 am --- Nitro Pits at 9:30 am

Blake Alexander FC --- Jeff Diehl FC

Phil Burkart FC --- Tim Wilkerson FC

Jim Campbell FC --- Matt Hagan FC

Bob Tasca III FC --- Cruz Pedregon FC

Shawn Langdon FC --- Ron Capps FC

Tommy Johnson Jr --- John Force FC

Jack Beckman FC --- Jim Maroney TF

Clay Millican TF --- Scott Palmer TF

Antron Brown TF --- Leah Pritchett TF

Austin Prock TF

The latest update as of February 11, 2019

The 59th annual NHRA Mello Yello Lucas Oil Winternationals (Pomona, CA)

Shawn Cowie T/AD - 5.162 - 280.25 ---

After an awesome opening shot (5.166 - 280.25) during Thursday's first qualifying session, Surrey, BC's Shawn Cowie followed that up this morning with an even better clocking of 5.162 - 280.25 during today's second round of eliminations. It ranks as the QUICKEST supercharged alcohol dragster pass in the history of the sport. He'll have a chance to equal or better those numbers in the semi-final round against fellow blown alky competitor, Chris Demke who laid down one of his quickest passes in a long time one pair earlier, clocking a very good 5.225 - 277.89 to eliminate the quicker A/FD of Julie Nattas (5.242). More news from Pomona soon. Stay tuned!

The latest update as of February 6, 2019

PRO Winter WarmUp photos from DAY SIX at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park (Phoenix, AZ)

Monday provided a real mix of cars and bikes, ranging from Pro Stock Motorcycles to Top Dragsters, lots of Pro Stock cars, a few Nitro Harleys, some Top Alcohol cars, and even a Top Fuel car thrown in for good measure. The TFer we're referring to was driven by the latest addition to the John Force Racing driver roster, Austin Prock, son of legendary tuner extraordinaire Jimmy Prock. And if we dial-up the "waay-back" machine, grandson of the famous 1970's nitro Funny Car driver, Tom Prock of "Detroit Tiger" fame.

At the end of the day, almost everyone in attendance packed up and pointed their rigs west towards Pomona for the official start of the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season, the Lucas Oil Winternationals. As I write this, the first day of qualifying for Sportsman cars is well underway, with the Top Alcohol cars scheduled to come out late this afternoon. The big noise, big show cars are on tap for two qualifying sessions tomorrow afternoon and Saturday, then final eliminations for all categories on Sunday.... Sunday.... Sunday. (With another nod to the "waay-back" machine).

We'll fill in the details on Monday's pics as soon as we get time this weekend. It's been a busy week as our long-stalled new home project is finally kicking into high gear and approaching a late March finish. Just like the second half of a quarter-mile, that finish line will surely come up quickly.

Ricky House TFH --- Dark Clouds overhead

(LEFT) It's Top Fuel Harley rider Ricky House who finished #4 in the Mickey Thompson Top Fuel Harley series last year, and on the (RIGHT) the storm clouds gather, but thankfully held off for the day

Beau Layne TFH --- Deric Kramer PS

(LEFT) Another Top Fuel Harley, this time from Redding, CA, ridden by Beau Layne who finished #6 in the Mickey Thompson series in 2018. (RIGHT) It's Deric Kramer in his American Ethanol backed car, looking to repeat, or better, his #9 finish in the Pro Stock standings in 2018

Jeg Coughlin PS --- Ray Martin TAFC

(LEFT) Yes, another Pro Stock Camaro, this time the iconic Jeg's sponsored Jeg Coughlin Jr. who has to be considered the favourite to take the 2019 World Championship following the off-season retirement of last year's winner, Tanner Gray. (RIGHT) For a change of pace, we've got Alaska's Ray Martin in his "International Incident" Top Alcohol Funny Car. Oh yes, it's another Camaro

Alan Prusiensky PS --- Tiffany Butler PSM

(LEFT) It's an odd-looking Camaro... because it's a Dodge Dart, wheeled by Alan Prusiensky who's been running Pro Stock for four years now, and has a total of three round wins to his credit. But he's out there at every event, makes almost every qualifying session, and never gives up. (RIGHT) We don't have much info on this new-to-the-class Pro Stock bike rider, and all we know about Tiffany Butler is that she is reportedly Terry Haddock's girlfriend

Phil Dion TD --- Zach Sackman TD

It's a tale of two dragsters, as on the (LEFT), Arizona's Phil Dion launches in his Top Dragster, while to the (RIGHT) it's Zach Sackman in his A/Fuel Dragster, working on a tuneup for the Winternationals. The test session must have worked, as he blasted out a career best of 5.181 - 276.52 for the #2 spot on the ladder in the first qualifying session Thursday at Pomona

Austin Prock TF --- Fernanado Cuadra PS

Amping up the volume by a TONNE (LEFT) it's Austin Prock in his public debut in the new John Force Racing Top Fuel dragster. He's licensed in both the nitro classes and will make his competition debut in Top Fuel on Friday at the Winternationals. (RIGHT)

Shane Westerfield TAFC --- Jim Maroney

Chris McGaha PS --- Bob Malloy TFH

(LEFT) Back for another kick at the Pro Stock can, the Texas Camaro (actually, they're almost all Camaros in the class, aren't they?) of Chris McGaha launches his season. (RIGHT) Another Nitro Harley, this time under the whip of Bob Malloy who's looking to improve on his #8 position in the points standings last season

Jay Payne TAFC --- Kenny Delco PS

Greg Anderson PS --- Fernando Cuadra PS

Jason Line PS --- Hunter Jones TAFC

Steve Graham PS --- Julie Nataas AFD

Shane Tucker PS --- Shawn Cowie BAD

Erica Enders PS --- Matt Hartford PS

Brian Hough TAFC --- Rodger Brogdon PS

Alex Laughlin PS --- Tony Jurado NFC

Jeff Isbell PS --- Kevin Boyer TFH

(LEFT) Despite what we reported earlier, there are a couple of non-Camaro entries still in competition, and Utah's Jeff Isbell is fielding one of them: a brand-new Jerry Haas-built 2019 Mustang for his return to the class after competing five times in late 2014 - early 2015. (RIGHT) One of three Alberta (Canada) racers in the Top Fuel Harley class, Edmonton's Kevin Boyer had a tough season in 2018, finishing well down in the standings in the #9 slot. He's hoping for better luck and better results this year

The latest update as of February 3, 2019

Still more PRO Winter WarmUp photos from Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park (Phoenix, AZ)

Doug Kalitta TF --- Antron Brown TF

(LEFT) It's Doug Kalitta

Robert Hight FC --- Brittany Force TF

John Force FC --- Tim Wilkerson FC

JR Todd FC --- Bob Tasca III FC

Mike Salinas TF --- Clay Millican TF

Jim Maroney TF --- Cruz Pedregon FC

Jonnie Lindberg FC

The latest update as of February 2, 2019

Friday photos from the PRO Winter WarmUp at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park (Phoenix, AZ)

Things really started to heat up Friday, with the first 3.6-second pass of the session, by Steve Torrence no less. Here's the list of the best passes of the day.

Steve Torrence 3.689 - 328.78
Billy Torrence 3.731 - 325.14
Jordan Vandergriff 3.738 - 325.85
Mike Salinas 3.747 - 296.24
Antron Brown 3.769 - 293.73
Doug Kalitta 3.780 - 289.07
Richie Crampton 3.780 - 275.00
Brittany Force 3.831 - 259.71
Robert Hight 3.863 - 326.87
JR Todd 3.868 - 324.36
Shawn Langdon 3.905 - 327.35
Scott Palmer 3.921 - 242.50
John Force 3.942 - 311.13
Matt Hagan 3.959 - 319.22
Bob Tasca III 3.972 - 310.20
Chad Green 4.090 - 252.80
Jonnie Lindberg 4.169 - 242.67
Cruz Pedregon 4.377 - 200.11
Clay Millican 4.925 - 142.45
Greg Carrillo 5.057 - 142.94
Jim Maroney 10.972 - 46.22

Bob Tasca III FC --- Shawn Langdon FC

Jordan Vandergriff TF --- Robert Hight FC

Shawn Reed TF --- Richie Crampton TF

Tim Wilkerson FC --- Brittany Force TF

Doug Vancil TFH --- Jonnie Lindberg FC

Bob Tasca III FC --- Shawn Lagndon FC

Antron Brown TF --- John Force FC

Tim Wilkerson FC --- Doug Kalitta TF

Cruz Pedregon FC --- Brittany Force TF

Doug Vancil TFH --- Mike Salinas TF

Jonnie Lindberg FC --- Scott Palmer TF

Robert Hight FC --- Shawn Langdon FC

Jim Maroney TF --- Clay Millican TF

The latest update as of February 1, 2019

More PRO Winter WarmUp photos from Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park (Phoenix, AZ)

Here's Thrusday's photos from our intrepid photog, Bob Snyder, basking in the (luke)warm Arizona sun while the rest of the continent is freezing. While the weather wasn't too hot at Wild Horse Pass, the on-track action certainly was, with Steve Torrence first to dip into the 3.60's with a testing best of 3.689 - 328.78 to easily top the charts.

Bob Tasca III FC --- Matt Hagan FC

(LEFT) It's Bob Tasca III who carded a day's best of 4.011 - 308.99, while on the (RIGHT) it's the sole Don Schumacher Racing funny car in attendance, the Dodge/SRT of Matt Hagan who laid down a 3.959 - 319.22 best for the day

Doug Kalitta TF --- Richie Crampton TF

Two of the Connie Kalitta "Horsepower Factory" dragsters are up next. (LEFT) it's Doug Kalitta launching to a 3.78 at an early shutoff 289.07, while teammate Richie Crampton followed with similar numbers at 3.807 - 273.94 as neither driver ran it out the back door

Angelle Sampey PSM --- Robert Hight FC

(LEFT) Starting the season with sponsorship from Vance & Hines (reportedly for only the first four races), is fan favourite and many time champion Angelle Sampey piloting a Harley-Davidson for a change. (RIGHT) Making another pass is Robert Hight as he cranked out a solid 3.94 - 314.68 to finish the day just behind JR Todd on the performance ladder

Chad Green TF --- Steve Torrence TF

Billy Torrence TF --- Antron Brown TF

Angelle Sampey PSM --- Brittany Force TF

Mike Salinas TF --- Doug Vancil TFH

JR Todd FC --- Shawn Langdon FC

Matt Hagan FC --- Greg Carrillo TF

John Force FC --- Jonnie Lindberg FC

Jordan Vandergriff TF

Closing out our day two pics is another shot of rookie Jordan Vandergriff getting ready to lay down his career best (so far) pass of 3.738 at 325.45

The latest update as of January 31, 2019

PRO Winter WarmUp photos from Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park (Phoenix, AZ)

Here's the first set of pictures from yesterday's action on the first day of testing at Phoenix. A few new paint schemes, a few new drivers, new crews and sponsors. It's all new for at least this weekend, then it gets very real next week at Pomona. Yes, just seven days until the 2019 NHRA Winternationals kicks off.

Brittany Force TF --- Clay Millican TF

On the left, it's Brittany Force in her newly sponsored Advance Auto Parts dragster, and a new crew chief (Dave Grubnic) and his entire crew that came over from the Clay Millican car. On the right, it's Clay Millican in the Parts Plus - Strutmasters car, running with a new crew chief (Mike Kloeber) and all-new crew. And the drag racing merry-go-round continues to spin....

Jonnie Lindberg FC --- Jordan Vandergriff TF

Flopper time on the left, with Jonnie Lindberg in the Jim Head car, and on the right, it's rookie Top Fuel pilot, Jordan Vandergriff in the as-yet-unwrapped D-A Lubricants car. He's running as part of a two-car team owned by his uncle Bob Vandergriff and Shawn Reed is his teammate

Doug Kalitta TF --- Bob Tasca III FC

A slightly different paint scheme for Doug Kalitta on the left, and Bob Tasca III sporting fresh colours on his Motorcraft Ford Mustang Funny Car

Steve Torrence TF --- Billy Torrence TF

No, you're not seeing double. To the left, it's defending world champion Steve Torrence, and on the right, it's his father, Billy Torrence in the second Capco team car

John Force FC --- JR Todd FC

Richie Crampton TF --- Shawn Langdon FC

Robert Hight FC --- Mike Salinas TF

The latest update as of January 30, 2019

PRO Winter WarmUp results from Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park (Phoenix, AZ)

Steve TorrenceTF3.725327.66
Billy TorrenceTF3.742326.16
Mike SalinasTF3.821317.94
Doug KalittaTF3.821278.98
Richie CramptonTF3.843259.46
JR ToddFC3.930305.22
Jordan VandergriffTF3.980233.44
Robert HightFC4.061249.12
Brittany ForceTF4.816158.32
Clay MillicanTF5.010141.98
John ForceFC6.084109.39
Jonnie LindbergFC6.327103.39
Bob Tasca IIIFC8.03188.12
Shawn LangdonFC8.37972.70
--- Mike Salinas - 'Scrappers Racing' TF

Here's all, or at least all our correspondent Bob Snyder was able to gather at today's first Nitro Test of the season. There's still two or three more days of the event (weather dependent with rain forecast for Saturday) and more of the 20 (so far) fuel cars on hand will be hitting the waterbox tomorrow. Stay tuned for pictures tomorrow, with possibly a few later tonight.

The latest update as of January 22, 2019

Let's get this party started: Nitro Funny Car schedule for 2019

It's that time of year when the racing schedules start appearing thick and fast. The following list has been put together from a variety of sources, and will be added to - and hopefully not see any subtractions - as the season kicks into gear. It's currently incomplete, but will remain a work in progress throughout the season. And with any luck - and a bit of arm twisting - we hope to have at least some coverage from half the events on the list.

Don't forget that the Nostalgia Nitro Funny Car season starts when the pit gates open at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in just six weeks. We can almost smell the nitro in the air already.

Nostalgia Nitro Funny Car 
Schedule 2019

The latest update as of January 2, 2019

Only nine short weeks until the 61st running of the MARCH MEET

We've barely worked our way through the Christmas and New Year's holidays and already, the 2019 drag racing season is beginning to rev up. As noted above, it's just nine weeks until the March Meet kicks off the NHRA Heritage Series at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in the olive groves north of Bakersfield, California. It's a little early to start seeing entry lists or performance prognostications, but the fields in almost all categories will be as full as usual, and very competitive.

Our main guy, photographer Bob Snyder will be on hand to capture as much of the action as he can and provide us with the images that make the race reports come alive. Until we get much more info on the event, here's a selection of posters from Famoso Raceway, with links to the track's website. As soon as we have more news, it will appear in this space.

March Meet 2019 Nitro Entries --- March Meet 2019 Tickets on Sale

March Meet 2019 Poster Oval

Just in case you're wondering what happened to all the photos and stories from 2018, they're on their way to the "What's Old" pages, but they're currently in detour mode until we can find a few (quite a few actually) hours to get them up and running.

In closing, let me wish everyone out there a very Happy New Year and may you experience a joyful, healthy, and fulfilling year in 2019.

Looks like we've left in last year's report from the 60th annual March Meet, just to whet your appetite for some "nostalgia" racing. Enjoy!

The latest update as of March 12, 2018

Better late than never: the 60th annual March Meet

We've got almost all the photos from the March Meet and now it's time to arrange them from latest to earliest, starting with Sunday's eliminations. With Saturday being almost a total washout, the Nostalgia Funny Cars had their work cut out for them, with four rounds on tap, instead of the usual three. We'll kick off our coverage with the first round of the plastic fantastics.

Nostalgia Funny Car - Round One eliminations

Dan Horan AA/FC --- Jason Rupert AA/FC - 'Rolling Thunder'

The first pair out of the lanes saw Dan Horan (left) break before staging, leaving Jason Rupert to single for the automatic win. Jason didn't spare the horses, but overpowered the track right off the starting line and coasted to an 18-second time

Steven Densham AA/FC - 'Teachers Pet' --- Geoff Monise AA/FC - 'Quarter Pounder'

In the next pairing, Steven Densham in the "Teachers Pet" (left) laid down a big number with a 5.69 - 252.24 to easily erase Geoff Monise (right - pictured Thursday) and his late-leaving early shut-off 7.10 - 113.74 losing effort

Brad Thompson AA/FC - 'Jailbreak'

With a decided disadvantage against Bobby Cottrell based on qualifying positions (#16 vs #1) Brad Thompson tried his best with the "Jailbreak" Camaro, but was more than half a tenth late at the tree, and gave up before the 1000 ft mark, with a 6.04 - 181.32 clocking

Bobby Cottrell AA/FC - 'Bardahl Special' --- 5.62 - 254.47

Low qualifier Bobby Cottrell cruised into the quarter-finals in his Bucky Austin-tuned car with a 5.62 - 254.47 time on the boards. Unfortunately for the crew, that time was barely visible through the cloud of piston smoke as they knew they were going to have to thrash to make the next round

Rian Konno AA/FC - 'Kazanjian, Lemon & Konno' --- Jeff Arend AA/FC - 'California Hustler'

In a big upset, the heavily favoured #2 qualified "California Hustler" owned by Don Nelson and driven by NHRA big show veteran Jeff Arend (left - pictured Friday) was dispatched in a close race by the Roland Leong-tuned Mustang of Rian Konno. The scoreboards favoured Arend by a margin of 5.75 - 256.89 versus Konno's 5.84 - 241.89 but the devil was truly in the details, as Konno's .016 light put a big holeshot on Arend's rather tardy .141 launch

Paul Romine AA/FC - 'Man O' War' --- Mark Sanders AA/FC - 'Mr. Explosive'

After nearly identical leaves, Indiana's Paul Romine in his "Man O' War"steadily opened a lead over the "Mr. Explosive" Mustang of Washington State's Mark Sanders until Sanders threw in the towel and slowed to a 6.53 - 156.92 time, as Romine powered on to a 5.81 - 232.63 win

Tim Boychuk AA/FC - 'Happy Hour' --- Ryan Hodgson AA/FC - 'Pacemaker'

Despite the hometowns on the entry list, this was truly an all-Edmonton battle, with defending NHRA Heritage Series champion, Ryan Hodgson (right) taking out the "Happy Hour" entry of Tim Boychuk (left) by a decisive 5.70 -257.33 to a 6.00 - 216.34 margin

Shawn Bowen AA/FC - 'Bartone & Lebor' --- Matt Bynum AA/FC - 'Nitro Nick'

The closest race of the round featured Shawn Bowen (left - pictured Friday) in the Bartone & Lebor (yes, that Bartone) taking on Matt Bynum in the "Nitro Nick" car (right - pictured Thursday). Bowen left first by just .037, and turned on the win light with a great 5.68 - 251.06 over Bynum's hard-charging 5.71 pass coupled with a (slightly suspect IMHO) Top Speed of the Meet 259.61 mph

Cory Lee AA/FC - 'Pedaler'

Unfortunately we don't (yet) have a picture of the winner of the final pair in the first round as Mike Halstead in Lee Jennings' "Code Red" didn't show up in our inbox. Halstead took the win easily over Cory Lee (pictured Thursday) in Gary Turner's "Pedaler" entry, carding a solid 5.89 - 253.28 over Lee's slowing and losing 7.88 - 118.06 pass

Nostalgia Top Fuel - Round One eliminations

Pete Wittenberg AA/FD - 'Circuit Breaker'

Eventual winner Pete Wittenberg in his sophomore season behind the wheel of the "Circuit Breaker" easily dispatched first round opponent Brendan Murry (not shown) with a solid 5.84 e.t. at a slowing 221.92 mph, as Murray had nothing for him at 9.27 and 94.48

Bret Williamson AA/FD --- Dan Horan AA/FD

Moving past his first round opponent with ease was Bret Williamson who laid down a 5.79 at only 212.19 mph. Unable to muster much of a fight was Dan Horan (picture from Thursday) who trailed badly at 6.44 - 215.13

Mendy Fry AA/FD - 'High Speed Motorsports' --- Adam Sorokin AA/FD - 'Champion Speed Shop'

After taking the top qualifying spot with a 5.73 e.t. coupled with only a 219.51 trap speed, Mendy Fry (left - pictured Friday) in the "High Speed Motorsports" entry, laid down a bomb in the first round, obliterating Adam Sorokin (right) in the "Champion Speed Shop" entry. The verdict: 5.69 - 261.42 (good for Top Speed of the Meet) for Fry, against Sorokin's well-back 6.11 - 219.04 effort

Jim Murphy AA/FD - 'WWII' --- Rick White AA/FD

The final pairing of the opening stanza (I've been waiting for months to use that very well-worn drag racing cliche) saw the 2017 NHRA Heritage Series champion (and 2017 March Meet runner-up) Jim Murphy (left) in his ultra-tough "WW II" take out Rick White (right - pictured Friday) in the Forever Young" entry by a wide margin at 5.84 - 321.08 over White's 6.22 - 242.71 futile effort

Kin Bates A/FD

We only got two pictures of A/FD's this weekend (Kin Bates and Shawn Corbari), but this one of Kin Bates shows him enroute to the win in the very tough 16-car field. Bates qualified second behind Drew Austin's (yes, that Austin family) incredible 5.81 e.t., with his own very strong 5.89 coupled with a huge speed of 235.10 mph. From there, he marched through the field, cranking out two straight 235-mph speeds, and crossed the finish line in the final with a 5.84 - 233.88 effort

Here's a selection of Sportsman shots and at the very bottom of the report, the AA/Fuel Altered (the Awful-Awfuls) final

Tire Shake! --- Blake Reynolds 7.0 PRO

If you think only the big boys can shake the tires HARD, guess again as the photo on the left was taken during 7.0 PRO eliminations. On the right is Blake Reynolds in his very cool '48 Fiat

Gasser Wheelie --- Wheelie Truck

On the left is an unidentified Gasser reaching for the sky, while a FlatDeck Wheelie Truck does it on the right

Bill Becker C/G - '33 Willys --- Jeep

We've got Bill Becker in his C/Gas '33 Willys panel on the left, and on the right, an unidentified stock-appearing Jeep

Tod Barker B/G - '48 Anglia --- David Wilson B/G

On the left, it's Tod Barker in his cool B/Gas '48 Anglia, who suffered an unfortunate deep stage disqualification in the first round, while to the right, it's David Wilson in his '40 Ford pickup. Wilson broke and didn't advance either

Ed 'The Outlaw' Jones --- Terminal Velocity JET Car

The exhibition cars fill the gaps near the end of the show, and Bakersfield pays homage to two of the showier of them. Ed "The Outlaw" Jones keeps the wheels up on his venerable "Jelly Belly" firetruck, while the "Terminal Velocity" Jet Dragster lights up the late afternoon

Eric Gates vs Dan Hix AA/FA Final

Here's the final round of AA/Fuel Altered. In the near lane we've got the winner, Dan Hix shown pulling out to a big early lead over runner-up Eric Gates. It was pretty much a done deal at the green, with Gates really late with a .204 light against Hix's so-so .153 leave. From there on, Hix train-lengthed Gates, with a 6.30 at only 168.10 mph over Gates' shutting off 8.91 - 93.32 effort

The latest update as of March 10, 2018

Better late than never: the 60th annual March Meet

Let's get started with a few pics from Wednesday's test session which mostly consisted of AA/FCs, 5.90 FCs, and an AA/FA or two.

Steve Easton AA/FC - 'Burnin' Money' --- Brad Thompson AA/FC - 'Jailbreak'

Aussie Steve Easton made it out on Wednesday to ignite (a whole bunch) more cash in Bob Godfrey's "Burnin' Money" 'Cuda (left). During the second qualifying session on Friday, the engine went BANG, the body flew away, and their weekend was over. Here's the link to the in-car Facebook video of the carnage. On the right side Brad Thompson shows off the System 1 colours on his "Jailbreak" Camaro

Shawn van Horn AA/FC - 'Choo Choo Mama' --- Mark Sanders AA/FC - 'Mr Explosive'

A new car/driver is Shawn van Horn's "Choo Choo Mama" Trans-Am (left), while perennial hard charger Mark Sanders blasts off in his veteran "Mr. Explosive" Mustang (right)

Billy Morris AA/FC - 'Problem Child' --- Don Hudson AA/FC - 'The Beachcomber'

On the left is a new addition to the nostalgia flopper ranks with Billy Morris in the "Problem Child" while on the right, Don Hudson has the "Beachcomber" looking as sharp as ever

Shane Harter in Dave --- Richard Wilson A/G 'Voodoo Hemi'

This year it's Shawn Harter behind the wheel of Dave "Nasty" Benjamin's always tough AA/Fuel Altered (on the left) and Richard Wilson's awesome "Voodoo Hemi" launching with a shower of sparks (on the right)

Jeff Paulin H/R --- Dennis Jauregui H/R

Now it's Bob Snyder's wife Ginger, providing us with some great sportsman shots

Bruce Boardman D/G --- 777E Slingshot --- 7678
Smoke Screen

Proceedings came to a rather untidy end as an errant - and as yet unnamed - A/Fuel Dragster left a very large trail of oil from half track to well past the finish line. With the temperatures dropping and the dew point rapidly approaching, it was decided to not throw good money after bad and the hard-working Famoso crew called it a wrap for the day

Day two of the March Meet saw all the categories, save the blown fuel cars, participating in their first qualifying sessions. The fuel cars did get out on the Famoso Raceway surface for a "bonus" test session, and most of the racers took advantage of the extra practice available.

Shawn Van Horn 590 FC --- Claude Lavoie 590 FC

It's Shawn van Horn on the left and Edmonton's Claude Lavoie on the right with their 5.90 indexed Funny Cars

Geoff Monise AA/FC - 'Quarter Pounder' --- Don Hudson AA/FC - 'Beachcomber'

Newcomer Geoff Monise in the QuarterPounder Monza is on the left, while Don Hudson's 'Beachcomber' resides on the right side of this pair

Jim Murphy AA/FD - 'WWII' --- Chris Bennett AA/FA - 'High Heaven'

Dean Oberg 'Holy Toledo' 590 FC vs John Evans TF --- Todd Miller AA/FA

Dan Horan AA/FC --- Rian Konno AA/FC - 'Kazanjian & Lemon'

Vince Gerealao AA/FA --- Kris Krabill AA/FC - 'Smokey's Darkside'

Tim Boychuk AA/FC - 'Happy Hour' --- Jason Rupert AA/FC - 'Littlefield & Rupert'

Mark Sanders AA/FC - 'Mr. Explosive' --- Dan Horan AA/FD

Mark Whynaught AA/FA --- Eric Gates AA/FA

Brad Thompson TF - 'Rain for Rent' --- Cory Lee AA/FC - 'Pedaler'

Claude Lavoie AA/FC --- Pete Wittenberg AA/FD - 'Circuit Breaker'

Steve Easton AA/FC - 'Burnin' Money' --- Dean Oberg 590 FC - 'Holy Toledo'

Matt Bynum AA/FC - 'Nitro Nick' --- Ryan Hodgson AA/FC - 'Pacemaker'

Chris Davis AA/FC --- Jason Rupert AA/FC - 'Rolling Thunder'

Eric Gates AA/FA --- Todd Miller AA/FA

Phil Ruskowski AA/FD --- Brad Thompson T/F - 'Warren, Coburn & Miller'

Dyan Lover & Ginger Snyder

Here's two of the women behind the lenses, with Port Alberni's Dyan Lover on the left and Phoenix's Ginger Snyder on the right

Friday was the first day of qualifying for Top Fuel, Fuel Altered and Funny Car at the March Meet and the weather threatened to break throughout the day. With an even worse forecast for Saturday's final qualifying sessions, the smart money was on making their first shot(s) count on Friday, instead of gambling on the final day of time trials. Unfortunately, a few racers got caught out as the track got colder and slipperier when the sun went down.

Bobby Cottrell AA/FC - 'Bardahl' --- Pete Wittenberg AA/FD

We may as well cut to the chase and spoil the surprise: here's the winners: Bobby Cottrell in Bucky Austin's "Bardahl Special" on the left, while upset-underdog-darkhorse (pick an appropriate adjective) Pete Wittenberg in the "Circuit Breaker" AA/Fuel Dragster is on the right

Dean Oberg 590 FC - 'Holy Toledo'

Here's Dean Oberg charging out in his 5.90 indexed Funny Car. Yes, it is a replica of a 1967 Jeep, but it's definitely a period-correct flopper. The next batch of photos were provided by Bob's wfie Ginger Snyder who certainly knows her way around a camera. Great work Ginger!

Shawn Bowen AA/FC - 'Bartone & Lebor' --- Kris Krabill AA/FC - 'Smokey's Darkside'

The nostalgia funny cars had the luxury of two qualifying sessions on Friday (other nitro categories got just one), and Shawn Bowen (left) made the most of his chances, ending up in the lucky #7 spot with a 5.788 at 246.88 clocking, while Kris Krabill (right) just missed making the cut, at #17 with a 6.154 - 225.79 in the "Smokey's Darkside" Challenger

Billy Morris AA/FC - 'Problem Child' --- Paul Romine AA/FC - 'Man O' War'

Newcomer Billy Morris in the "Problem Child" Camaro was well down the list at #20, missing the show with a best of 6.518 - 210.21 (left), while veteran fuel racer Paul Romine in his "Man O' War" Mustang qualified solidly at #12 with a 5.890 at 234.00 pass

Bill Windham AA/FC - 'Shakedown' --- Steve Densham AA/FC - 'Teachers Pet'

Jeff Arend AA/FC - 'California Hustler --- Mark Sanders AA/FC - 'Mr. Explosive'

Jason Rupert AA/FC - 'Rolling Thunder' --- Don Knoblauch

Bobby Cottrell AA/FC - 'Bardahl Special' --- John Weaver AA/FC

Don Hudson AA/FC - 'Beachcomber' --- Rian Konno AA/FC - 'Kazanjian, Lemon & Konno'

Jeff Utterback 590 FC - 'Pisano & Matsubara' --- Claude Lavoie 590 FC

Shawn Corbari A/FD --- Mendy Fry AA/FD - 'High Speed Motorsports'

Phil Ruskowski AA/FD --- Dusty Green AA/FD - 'Nitro-Hemi'

Rick White AA/FD

Shawn Bowen AA/FC - 'Bartone & Lebor' --- Steven Densham AA/FC - 'Teachers Pet'

Rick Rogers AA/FC - 'Fighting Irish' --- Cory Lee AA/FC - 'Pedaler'

Scott Cousimano AA/FC - Nitro Mafia --- Don Knoblauch AA/FC

We've got two of the ten (or so) non-qualifiers in this next pairing. On the left, it's Scott Cousimano in the "Nitro Mafia" '78 Arrow, while on the right, it's Don Knoblauch in his flat-black version. Cousimano got on the list with a 9-second time, while Knoblauch couldn't back up after the burnout on his first attempt, then left before the tree came down on his last shot and didn't get a timeslip

Shawn van Horn 590 FC - 'Choo Choo Mama' --- Claude Lavoie 590 FC

There was a second nitro funny car field at this event, with four cars running in the 5.90 index class. Here's the quickest qualifiers, with Shawn van Horn in his "Choo Choo Mama" on the left, and Edmonton's Claude Lavoie in his very cool '72 Satellite on the right. Despite qualifying at the top of the field, both cars were gone after the first round of eliminations

Dean Oberg 590 FC - 'Holy Toledo' --- Brad Thompson TF - 'Rain for Rent'

This is definitely an odd couple: Dean Oberg (again) in his recreation of Ed Lenarth's "Secret Weapon", now running with the moniker "Holy Toledo" on the left, while Brad Thompson wheeled the "Rain for Rent" of Warren, Coburn & Miller

Shane Harter AA/FA - 'Nasty Benjamin' --- Jim Holtz AA/FA - 'Trouble Maker'

Now it's all Fuel Altereds, all the time (at least until the end of this report

Todd Miller AA/FA --- Rodney Flournoy AA/FA - Godzilla'

Tom Padilla AA/FA - 'Red DRagon' --- Eric Gates AA/FA

Jeremy Sullivan AA/FA --- Keith Wilson AA/FA - 'Witch Doctor'

James Day AA/FA - 'Black Sunshine' --- Dan Hix  AA/FA

Robert Winefsky AA/FA - 'Coyote Express' --- Backup Girl

The last car for this part of the report is another newcomer from Arizona, Robert Winefsky who went all the way to the semi-final in his big event debut in the beautiful Coyote Express. And yes, we know it's 2018 but we can still show a backup girl photo... or two, if we can find some more...

Tim Marshall RIP

Saturday was mostly a washout as only a dozen funny cars made it down the track between the persistent rain showers throughout the day. At the end of a very long, cold, and wet day, a small group gathered near the starting line to honour the recent passing of one of the great photographers in the sport of drag racing, Tim Marshall. RIP, my friend.

To see previous updates, go to the What's Old page

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